As I watched the end of The Masters yesterday, and the greatest sports story of my life, there were so many things going through my head.
First, we were there, in 1997 (Augusta was our home at the time) when Tiger Woods first made history by becoming theyoungest and first African-American to win The Masters (first putt in highlight package)
His athletic dominance at that event REALLY kicked off my love affair with the game of golf that burns brightly to this day. At the time, Tiger was 21...a kid. As such, a constant presence in his life was his father, Earl Woods.
Earl was a former Green Beret and was, by all accounts, a tough disciplinarian in Tiger's life. That being said, he was elemental in his life and when Earl died, his loss for Tiger was like losing the sun.
I say that because you can always tell your direction, your "true north" by knowing that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Earl (though by all means a VERY flawed man) served as Tiger's guide though life, helping him navigate between what's right and wrong.
After Earl died, I feel that Tiger lost his way. His personal crises are well documented and commented on, so there's no need to provide a laundry list here. Consequently, there are some people who can never get past the depth of his depravity in his personal life.
My wife said something to me yesterday, that really struck home. If you are one who still can't let go of judging Tiger's off-course decisions/indiscretions, think about this statement, "A man's mistake should not be a life-sentence."
In life, we all fall. Sure, some fall bigger and more spectacularly, but we all fail in some facet of our lives. Is it too much to ask to have THE REST OF YOUR LIFE taken into account before final judgment is passed?
However, one GOOD thing that appeared to come from the self-inflicted destruction of his life was this...he was forced to become a better father to his daughter (Alexis) and son. I've seen this happen a lot in divorce. Men don't realize how much their kids mean until their unable to be with them every day. It makes them appreciate time more, and they work harder to be the best dad they can be.
Then there was this. Following his amazing victory yesterday, Tiger turned to his son, Charlie.
Charlie is too young to remember or to know that his dad is "Tiger Woods." To him, he's just dad. He takes him to school, he goes to his soccer games, he has dinner with him, and he is his best friend.
The joy of sharing this moment with his son, took me to the second thing that struck me...all the moments of the golf course I've enjoyed with both my dad and my son. Dad introduced me to the game. I introduced my son to it. I've spent countless hours of my life with both on a golf course.
And I wouldn't trade a minute.
That's what the game has become about for me: fathers and sons.
I feel like I'm starting to ramble here so I'm going to close by speaking to all the dads here. We are all flawed. We will all fail. However, to our sons (and daughters) be the man they need you to be. Be better than yourself. Be the true north in their life.
They may not win The Masters, but perhaps you'll be able to help them master this thing called life.