December 11, 2009

Dear Tiger, I Owe Ya One

Dear Tiger,

I owe ya one.  You have given me the best holiday gift a mother of teenage boys could ask for. I take no pleasure from your suffering.  At the same time, I am grateful to you for screwing (up) so publicly.

You went to Stanford because you could play a great round of golf.  Your link-ability got you famous.  That fame got you a thin Swedish supermodel wife and two perfect children. You got really really rich, earning a billion dollars between 1996 and November 27, 2009, when you had your car accident.  By then, we could get a Tiger Woods golfing watch (it’s really light and can withstand a big “G” spot, I mean force), and Gatorade Tiger (if you drink it, you, too, can really swing).  In short, you, dubbed “the world’s most marketable athlete,” schooled us all in the fine art of getting.

I fear that the ones you schooled best are teenage boys.  Mine have grown up thinking that to be successful, their faces should grace ads for sporty cars, credit cards, and breakfast cereals. They’ve known that making it means not just getting a bunch of stuff but having the stuff named for them. And all for whacking a ball around country club green grass.

Meanwhile, their dad has been commuting to his government job on a bicycle.  He comes home for dinner, makes bad jokes, and, when possible, attends their soccer games, tennis matches, and music concerts.  It has been clear for a very long time that they will not live to see a sports drink named for their pa.

I never buy The New York Post, but I brought home a copy yesterday and left it on the kitchen table.  “Tiger’s Sex Texts” the headline trumpeted. “Another day, another bombshell!” The boys were standing over the tabloid cackling before I could ask them to empty the dishwasher.

“Can you believe this?” one said.

“Wait, is this real?” said the other.  “Or did someone just make this stuff up?”

Essential questions about most everything having to do with you, Tiger.  So I offer my sincere thanks for creating this golden opportunity to talk to my boys about who, as high school juniors, they think they’re supposed to be and what it means, at the close of 2009, to be a successful American man.