Celebrity or not, losing your mom or dad, is tough. It doesn’t matter if father and son weren’t close, it doesn’t matter if they were best friends. I haven’t had to go through this, but I’ve seen close friends and family who have. Rich, poor, happy people, and unhappy people all have to deal with this eventuality, and it isn’t easy.
Many times members of the media go overboard when covering the death of a famous athlete, making it seem that somehow athletes have a tougher time contending with a death in the family. This treatment diminishes the plight that the average person goes through. We all need to carry on, go to work, pay the bills, and take care of our families. When a parent dies, we’re equals.
However, the story of Tiger Woods’ dad’s death is noteworthy news not just because he is Tiger’s dad, but because he was the person most responsible for what Tiger has accomplished.
In this era of a near epidemic of pathological family dysfunction, the Woods family was an example of the right way to do things. I’m sure in day-to-day goings on things always didn’t go smoothly, family matters rarely do. But with family, it’s the outcome that matters. Tiger is a pretty good outcome. Mom and dad deserve a lot of credit for that.
Tiger has consistently credited his parents, especially his dad, with being the most important influences in his life. This — and not just because he’s Tiger’s dad — is why Earl Woods’ death is noteworthy
We’ve all heard stories of how Tiger swears on the golf course and can be snippy and cold at times. Tiger has been criticized for being a very private person who goes to great lengths to keep his off-course life off-limits to the public. These criticisms are catty, petty nonsense.
People who are the best, and who are always striving to be the best, are different from people who accept their lot in life, the status quo. Tiger Woods is no different from any titan of industry or leader in any other field in this regard. This is why these people succeed. If he didn’t have this edge, if he didn’t shut out the outside world during his efforts to be the best, he wouldn’t be the best.
Tiger’s approach to his private life and how he spends his money is a welcome and refreshing change from the “Bling Meisters” who appear on MTV Cribs and in other venues designed to show-off cars, houses, jewelry, and the other meaningless material gains acquired by celebrity idiots. Tiger’s parents deserve a lot of credit for teaching their son to stay grounded and for realizing what’s important.
And it doesn’t matter if “we” disagree with the methods; all that matters is that Tiger credits his mom and dad for his success.
We should recognize the passing of Earl Woods, but not by making it simply about the death of “Tiger’s dad.”
We should take this occasion to celebrate the great things that a father can do for his son. Us dads can use the example of Earl Woods to recognize and cultivate the talents that may lie within our sons and daughters, whether or not they become stars on the world’s stage. Sure you have to be tough at times and make kids do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do, but there are times when this is what it means to be a parent.
I’m sorry when anyone loses their dad, and if I knew Earl Woods I’m sure his death would have a greater affect on me at a personal level. But from millions of miles away, my take is that the work of Earl Woods — like the architect of any lasting structure — will be around to enjoy for a very long time.
And for this, I’d like to say, “Thanks, Earl.”