The Bigger Miss


Posted on June 23, 2012 by Blake Leath

Sorry; I've just tweeted about Hank Haney's The Big Miss, but 140 characters is too small a tapestry to capture all that I want to get off my chest.  But still, I'll keep it relatively short.

I just wanted to add that, sadly, Tiger's career (and professional and personal life) appears to be a staggering display of self-absorption.  It is the pinnacle of narcissism.  A modern day Greek tragedy describing a sailor lost at sea.  A man with no north star, no sense of perspective, and no acceptance of any meaning, purpose or possibility beyond himself.

In reading it, one is blinded by the array of missed opportunities to build bridges between sports, health, research, education, ages, races, cultures.  Tiger could have positively impacted and improved the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of men, women and children through virtuous, altruistic efforts.  But he failed to lift a finger to include people in his life, on his board, on his team who had the wherewithal, connections, funds and vision to do so properly because he insisted on maintaining control and focus on that tiny white ball.

I am reminded of the maxim, "He who is wrapped up in himself makes a very small package."

He proved a faithless husband who chose vitriolic misogyny (sorry, it's much more than 'just' philandering) over marriage and traded his name, reputation, potential and legacy for temporary, vacuous thrills.

Hank reaches deep to explain or excuse Tiger's behaviors, seduced himself into the abyss of awe.  I don't care one iota about Tiger's swing, his record, his endorsements, his wealth, his fame, his legend, Stanford, his Navy SEALs training, his friendships with pro athletes and celebrities, his estates, his private planes, his Nike sporting goods, his Learning Centers, his sponsored tournaments, his video games or his popsicles.

What I care about is the fact that this potentially extraordinary human being, blessed with talent more than sufficient to raise the water level for others, did not.

He could have established a sports program in this country that might have reduced childhood obesity or diabetes.

He could have brokered deals to establish sports scholarships in every state.

He could have been an ambassador for character.

He could have been a role model.

He could have been an authentic friend.  An encourager.  An inspiration and a guide.

What Hank justifies as "The Package" (Tiger's combustible combination of strengths and weaknesses that define who he is and why he's good) don't pass the sniff test.  By any textbook, 10 x 0 = 0, so no matter the quality of Tiger's swing or golf game, he has proven, to date, to simply be an 'athlete,' and a distracted one at best.

Athleticism and Wins are zero substitute for an honorable life well lived.

I sincerely hope that Tiger experiences a true awakening in his life but, as we know, without a change of heart, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Tiger did not become a better person with the perspective of having lost his beloved father; he did not become a better person when he lost his marriage; he did not become a better person when he completed therapy after being vilified so publicly for sex addiction.  But perhaps he still may.  He remains young.

Should the lightbulb go off and everything click, he could very well experience five coming decades of tremendous social and societal contribution.  He sits at a very unique nexus, one from which he could do a great deal of good.

Let's pray that he chooses the right path; the one of selflessness, humility, love, contribution, true excellence and life rather than self-destruction.