Full disclosure: I’m a grown man (notice, I didn’t say “adult”, the wife would veto that notion). Full disclosure: I have sports heroes.
When I was a boy growing up in Houston, Earl Campbell played running back for my Houston Oilers and he never let me down. I have NO MEMORY of the team NEEDING that yard or first down, and Number 34 being unable to deliver. To this day, if I were to ever come into direct contact with this man, I would be unable to speak.
Later, as a teenager and a basketball player of some note, I became enamored with Michael Jordan. And in a cool moment of luck, got to “play against” him when I was 12 at Carolina Basketball School. It was a thrill. And talk about a player who ALWAYS delivered under pressure? Wow!
Then…I became a man (again, age wise-we’re ignoring the maturity argument <g>). And when you become a man, you are supposed to put away childish things like sports heroes, right? That theory never saw Eldrick “Tiger” Woods play golf.
We moved to Augusta, Georgia in August of 1996. I was there on Masters Sunday in 1997 when he changed the sports world. And I was glued to my TV set for just about every one of these.
Now before I go any further, I realize that Tiger Woods is a polarizing figure. This is not an endorsement or indictment of his off-course activity. I separate sports idolization from life idolization. They are two completely different things, and I treat them as such.
So, back to the question, “Why Tiger?” The same reason as Earl and Michael (you’re always on first name basis with your heroes). He (and they) made me believe that the impossible was not just possible, but in his hands…probable.
We mere Muggles are not meant to understand sorcery like this. No, we are to marvel and enjoy.
I’m on vacation this week playing in an annual golf tournament with my best friend at Myrtle Beach. So, it almost seemed appropriate that when I learned of Tiger’s car accident, and the extent of it, I was trying (in vain) to do what he makes look so easy.
The last time any of us saw Tiger make a competitive golf swing was in a Father/Son Tournament with his boy, Charlie (by the way, to reciprocate his obvious fandom of me, I plan to name my next child, Tiger <g>). Watching the joy he was taking from playing with his son warmed my heart as for once, I knew EXACTLY what it felt like to be Tiger Woods. For those of us who share a common love/hobby with our children, you know what I’m talking about.
Hearing how bad his right leg was injured (double compound fracture, rods, pins, screws, plates, etc.) crushed my spirit, and NOT because I need my sports hero. No, Charlie Woods needs/deserves his dad. His dad needs/deserves to be there for him at full strength.
Various reports from doctors have Tiger’s recovery (and by recovery, I mean being able to walk/function normally…you know, like us Muggles) at anywhere from 14-18 months. Some people who have this sort of injury NEVER make it back. Some people say a full recovery is impossible.
Let me remind you.
In Tiger Woods’ hands, the impossible is probable. And for his son and daughter (Sam), I hope my hero doesn’t disappoint.
Something tells me he won’t.
He never has.