Tiger's stumble can be a lesson for the rest of us to learn

December 3, 2010 

Here's to Tiger Woods answering to the man in the mirror.

Yes, it took the Thanksgiving fallout to shatter the image contrived and conceived by his handlers, but from Woods’ perspective, he is all the better for it.

How is this possible? He lost his wife, access to his children and millions of dollars in endorsement deals, but Woods says he is better for his meltdown, so who are we to judge?

In all of this, there is a lesson to be learned by each of us.

I think of the Shakespeare adage, “To thine own self be true,” which was Polonius’ last piece of advice to his son Laertes, in “Hamlet.” Woods was not and he paid the price – both personally and financially. Here is why I think this is so important – so important that I stress this to my young son.

Woods never should have gotten married. Period. There, I said it. He was a young, multimillionaire playing a game loved by millions, who never was able to truly live as a teenager or young adult. Woods was done a disservice by those around him.

I place the blame at the feet of his parents. Now mind you, Woods has some culpability as well for the decisions he made as well – especially when he decided to marry and not honor his vows. But this comes with a caveat and here it is: Woods from his earliest age (view the Mike Douglas show and with this example I am dating myself) he was taught to focus on what others wanted or expected of him.

Instead of letting him live the life of many of his constituents, as much as that was possible, his needs were secondary to the corporate image that many wanted to present – and cash in on.

The corporate, squeaky-clean image was all that mattered and “To thine own self be true” was not even in the running. Corporate sponsorships and dollars were cherished, but being true to himself is what he needed more than anything else at this critical juncture in his life.

He tried to be what others wanted him to be instead of being who he was and he paid the price.

This is the example I show my son: Being true to one’s self is more important than anything else.

Here is an example of my buy in to this message.

My son has otherworldly speed. We’re talking 4.3 to 4.4 seconds speed for the 40-yard dash. He is the fourth-fastest athlete in Olympia High School’s history.

He’s a natural on the baseball diamond with stunning hand-eye coordination as expressed by former Major League Baseball players.

With this combination he could, in the parlance of today, “write his own ticket.”

However, his choice is to be a student at a local four-year university, be an ROTC cadet and not an athlete.

I respect that.

I respect his decision to be true to himself, to do what he wants to do, to paint his life on his own canvas, and how can one not admire the focus and resolve to do just that?

His priorities are just that – his priorities.

Would I love for the world to view his talents and endeavors on the athletic fields? Of course I would. What red-blooded American father wouldn’t?

However, he has learned well what I taught him – “to thine own self be true.” What I want for him cannot supersede what he wants for himself. But boy, the Huskies sure could use a shut down cornerback next year.

Lucius Daye, a service-connected disabled veteran, recently was appointed to Lacey Fire District 3 board of commissioners. A member of The Olympian’s Diversity Panel, he can be reached at lucasdaye@comcast.net.

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