It seems that the old saying that the bigger they are the harder they fall is true. In recent days we have been reminded of that. Of course I am writing about Tiger Woods.
Here is a man that seems to have it all. We have given him fame, fortune, the adoration of so many fans around the world and prestige. He has nice homes and cars, plus endorsements beyond compare.
He married a model, a beautiful woman, who gave him two seemingly great kids. His life appeared to be the things that dreams are made of. But then he allegedly has created his own nightmare.
At first, there was the report of a minor accident at an hour when most people should be in bed. The wreck occurred just a few yards from his posh Florida home. His courageous wife used a golf club to break a window and got him out after he hit a fire hydrant and a tree. An ambulance was called and he was taken to the hospital for minor injuries.
But why was he out so late? Was alcohol involved? No, he was not drinking, but a bigger problem was looming.
A tabloid had reported that he was having an extramarital affair. Usually the Tiger public relations team would silence this quickly. But the story continued to grow, with Tiger and his wife refusing to answer questions, even from the police.
Finally, as we have all seen, a total of six women have claimed they have had affairs with the man many believed to be perfect. Some had text messages saved to provide proof. Another had those plus audio messages, the last one the night of his accident.
What was the deal? How could this happen?
First let me say I hope the best for Tiger and his family, but it should come as no surprise to anyone that this happened. He is after all just human and humans make mistakes, we all do. I have made a lot in my life, but who hasn’t?
I am not a psychologist nor am I an expert of human behavior, but I can look at the situation and spot the obvious. Like many others before him, once the greatness has reached a peak, and then what can they do to keep the edge.
It starts with a prodigy or a person who is one of the best at what they do. Add in constant praise, constant stroking of the ego and viola the ingredients for a moral or career disaster is in place. It has happened to so many. Just look at how quickly stars like Roger Clemons, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds have faded away thanks to their problems with suspected steroid use. Mark McGwire has paid a price for his “not telling” about the use he knew about as he was suspected himself. Or look at Pete Rose who broke a cardinal sin of baseball, would not come clean for nearly 15 years or more, then when he tried still did not sound remorseful. Most of these thought they were bigger than the game, bigger than life and had the “to the victor go the spoils” attitude. Where are they now?
Others like Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettit have owned up to the problem, faced it and moved on. They still have a career and people tend to forgive those who come clean. Tiger will keep his career, but his knight in shining armor persona has lost a little of the luster.
Athletes are not the only ones to fall hard. Politicians like governors, Congressmen and Senators have all succumbed to the power rush. Many have lost their careers and the public’s confidence, more importantly they have lost their families.
Religious leaders are no different. In recent years we have heard of or read about big name pastors who tried to hide their wrong doings, while preaching about others’ sins. I believe the good book says something about let he who hath no sin cast the first stone (John 8:7). I’m not passing judgment, just stating the facts as we have all heard about them before.
In fact I and many others like me are part of the problem. We tend to put athletes, leaders or religious figures on pedestals. We look up to them, shower them with praises and then wonder why they fall when the pressure gets to be too much. We do exactly what the Bible tells us not to do in placing our faith in men instead of God.
Sure we can be fans and supporters of them, but we need to realize they are human. The biggest thing about humans is that we are flawed and that makes us not perfect. Realizing that, we should be able to understand that even though we may like the way they play a sport or speak eloquently to inspire a crowd, they are human. They need prayers and forgiveness just like everyone else.
In turn, they need to understand that it is the fan or the voter or the follower that has helped them to reach the pinnacle of their careers. They should never forget that, as well as never forget that they have a talent given to them from one that is perfect. Being humble enough to realize that may keep many of them from letting that power demon take them further than they can handle.
So we should not judge them, nor should we worship them. We should remember that at this time of year when we celebrate the birth of a King who was not considered that on this earth. He was born in a manger, lived a simple life and died a criminal’s death. But He overcame all of that and rose again. He knew who He was and what He was, but He knew that being humble and forgiving was the only way to go.
We all, Tiger included, need a little humility in our lives to keep us where we need to be, doing the right things. The higher the pedestal the farther the fall, but with that pillow of humbleness we will survive.
I’m just saying . . .