Thursday, December 3, 2009

Image is Everything

I have been intrigued by the Tiger saga...the joke of the day yesterday was, "he is not going to be called Tiger anymore but cheetah..." The media loves to build people up and then tear them to pieces as they fall. And I watch it happen. And I am learning not to cheer as it occurs. I don't cheer but I have certain feelings that come out that make me not proud of myself. And they seem to revolve around money. He has been paid millions to be a public figure representing the game of golf and products and now he wants privacy. That irks me a little. Why? I will have to examine my own shortcomings as well.

Very truthfully but not pretty is the resentment of the amount of money that he has been paid to hit a ball around with a stick. He evidently has a gift and has worked extremely hard to excel at this sport. I'm sure there are "reasons" why he makes that much money, likely to hit a billion by 2010?? I guess people buy Nike products to be like him. Drink Gatorade. Buy a Pontiac or whatever, so there are reasons these companies pay that much money and now they have to gamble on Tiger's future public perception which is fickle. Why do I care how much money he has, I have enough. Hmmmmm.

Secondly, there is the fact that he is a cheater and not just one time but for years and multiple partners. It disgusts me that sports persons and others, who become so rich, powerful and exclusive feel that they can get away with it. Yet the Tigers and others who are getting away with it, they don't even think of it in that way. And here is the kicker after I have just judged mightily, this is the part that I am working to embrace and that is Tiger is just another child of God, who has his own set of problems, and faults but with private estates around the world. He is just like the rest of us, warts and all.

I have been examining carefully crafted public perceptions of certain famous people. I know PR and media strategists have been around a long time but I of the "people fascinate me" variety, have just come to understand them more fully. Take Andre Agassi, he hated tennis. (And wore a hairpiece???) This surprised me, and made me want to read his biography which I am. Andre's Canon Rebel Ad tag line was "Image is Everything" He just showed up to make money which would afford him to support his family, escape his father, Canon told him what to say, he said it, and bam, that became his public perception. He could not escape it at all.

And Andre's father MADE him play tennis, there seemed to be no out for Andre. Did Earl MAKE Tiger play? What is it like to be a child prodigy and the expectations that come with that? As my favorite saying goes, there is a story there. Everyone has a story and I'm not speaking of the dirty details variety. It doesn't matter how beautiful the wife, how much money there is, people are just people and images are only that. One dimensional. People are multi-dimensional. Everyone wants the love of their father,(their parents) and it is an extremely powerful relationship. Did Tiger feel he had to play golf to please his father? Andre, finally at the age of 27, made a decision to play tennis not because of his father but for himself. And he made a wonderful comeback in the world of tennis (I think, I haven't gotten to that part of the book, but my memory is saying he did)

I am still conflicted and will work to let the money thing go. Money or fame doesn't make anyone happy or satisfied, that only comes from within and I am learning that lesson. Tiger does need privacy, a good therapist, and a marriage counselor. Will he do this? Who knows but he is a child of God. And somewhere inside the most prominent sports figure of this century, there is a hole that makes him choose to act out. I hope he and his family are able to learn their truths and live with them. Image is NOT everything.

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