Friday, December 11, 2009

The Impact of Tiger on Our Kids

Are you secretly (or overtly) obsessed with the Tiger Woods scandal? Or are you sick of it? Do you think it’s ridiculous or relevant? Whatever you may feel personally about the coverage, it is an issue worth examining from a cultural perspective as well as from that of a parent.   I really wonder about the state of our country (and media culture) when we are in a historic health care debate in Congress, conducting two wars, and all you see on TV commentary shows for the last few days is discussions about Tiger’s “transgressions”  (I guess that what can call affairs nowadays).  

We have all seen a lot of commentary about the impact this will have on the game of golf, and on his endorsements. We have also seen quite a bit about the events of that fateful evening-- the police report, the many mistresses, the voice messages, text messages, and the speculations of why he is not admitting anything in public, etc., etc.   None of this really matters, does it?  But the one thing I have NOT heard about is  the impact of this scandal on children—his, mine, yours, and everyone else’s.  

How many young kids (of all colors and creeds) looked up to Tiger as a hero? Hundreds? Thousands? And it was not because he had a beautiful wife, and not even really because he had a lot of money. The kids looked up to Tiger because he is one of the BEST athletes in the world in his specialty—golf. He was the definition of a “hero.” Once you reach the top echelons of any sport worldwide, you inevitably have a following of young people who admire you for your status as an archetypal great.   So when great men fall as hard as Tiger did (in the adult world), it also shatters a small part of the innocent admiration our children feel towards these human heroes.

Coincidentally, it was my daughter’s current event date on November 30 and she wanted to share the news of his accident.  And even at the young age of seven, her first question was, “Mommy, why was he driving at 2:25 AM?”  I chose to emphasize that people can drive at all hours of the night--which would have worked if Tiger’s story wasn’t on the news nonstop.   Joy Behar said last night on her show that “Tiger is not out of the woods yet” … Well neither are WE. While the media continues to obsess about Tiger’s many sexual exploits, we have to address the aspect of the fallen hero to our kids. When great men fall, we all feel the earth shake a little. If your kids are old enough to have found a hero in Tiger, they are old enough to hear from you why it will all be OK.   

Hopefully the coverage will end soon! 

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