The Breakdown: Bad wake-up call
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
There are only three things that can ever get me out of bed early in the morning: fishing, golfing and skiing. Beyond that, it’d take an emergency to get me moving.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I just want to put in perspective the significance of me dragging myself to my living room early Friday morning to flip on TV and watch Tiger Woods show the world that, yes, he knows how to read.
(Note: In case you’re asking yourself how I can consider 9 a.m. to be early, please keep in mind that sports writers work funny hours. And I just like sleeping in, so get off my back about it.)
Looking back now, I’m not sure why I even got up to watch it.
But I did, and so did millions of people around the world.
I tuned in to ESPN, but all three major TV networks (CBS, ABC and NBC) carried it, and you could find it live online if you wanted.
After Tiger’s 13 minutes and 32 seconds in front of the cameras were over (yes, ESPN had a stopwatch on it) everyone had their opinions.
Some people thought Tiger was robotic; some thought he read, er, spoke from the heart. Some people felt it was a good step forward for him; some thought he showed he’s the same old control freak he’s always been.
I simply wonder why we care.
Really, what I wonder is why we feel athletes owe us anything except their best effort in competition.
This isn’t just about Tiger Woods. There are hundreds of athletes in dozens of sports that we seem to feel owe us explanations for their actions – that they owe us something meaningful for our devotion as fans.
During these Olympics – as Bode Miller gives his middle-finger salute to all who questioned him – reporters seem to be trying to get an apology out of him for his bizarrely underachieving Games in 2006.
It seems funny to me that, with Bode achieving what no American alpine skier has ever done (four Olympic medals), people don’t see this as an incredible feat. Instead, it’s Bode showing, even more so, how disappointing 2006 was, how he threw away a chance at history for a few extra shots of Jack.
Why is this? Well, because no one can get that apology from him. You know, that apology that Bode owes to all the people who hyped him as the hero of Turino before he even clicked into his skis for a training session.
I guess, after watching Tiger still getting ridiculed, it may not have mattered if Bode apologized. That is, unless he cried to Barbara Walters or went into some sort of rehab center for his excessive partying. (Hey, at least Tiger did one of those two.)
The main problem here is how we somehow rationalize that because someone is amazing at sports that they must have personal lives that we are all proud of, or that if they do have these falls from grace, they need to work for our forgiveness.
Because, after all, they’re competing for us, right? It can’t be the millions of dollars, the fame or even the sheer thrill of victory that gets them out of the bed to train each day. I mean, it couldn’t possibly be that they simply love to compete that separates them from their sheets every morning.
All I can tell you right now is that next time, I’m staying in bed.
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