A caller yesterday got Rush Limbaugh talking about Tiger Woods and his victory at the PGA. The caller was a former Woods hater who has been warming to him since the birth of Alexis. She was amazed that he could still do a good job while having to stay up nights changing diapers, and doing feedings. She thinks the marriage and kid thing makes him more human.
Please. Tiger does NOT stay up nights feeding the baby (and if he does, it’s because he chooses to, not because he has to). He’s got five hundred million dollars. There are people he hires to do that. Ditto with diapers. His wife is a former nanny to Jesper Parnevik’s kids. I’m sure she knows all about the advantages of hired help. (I’m reminded of the story of how West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller wanted his kids to be born in a log cabin, so he built a log cabin exterior around a fully-equipped hospital room).
What’s so remarkable about a person having kids and continuing to perform at a high level? Everyone with kids has done that. I have two kids, and I am just as good a teacher now as before. My wife is just as good a nurse. Since we don’t have the money to hire a nanny, we really DID stay up at night and go to work exhausted. Having kids is no excuse for a drop off in work performance.
Bill Gates has kids. Does anyone write about how remarkable it is that Microsoft keeps running. My doctor has kids. That doesn’t make me wonder if the quality of care is any less.
And while I’m being cranky, I’ll take another shot at the Tiger apologists (note that none of this is directed at Tiger. He doesn’t make these excuses, others do). After his father died, Tiger’s sycophants made excuses about how difficult it must be for him to return to the course, and how it affected his play.
Again, please. Every one of us eventually loses our parents. While we each deal with grief in different ways, there is nothing remarkable about Tiger’s loss. I lost my own father—whom I loved just as much as Tiger loved his—at about the same time. I got two days off for “bereavement”, and then had to go right back into the classroom, teaching at the same level as before. No one was going to make excuses for me if my students failed to pass the state’s standardized tests at the end of the semester. I didn’t get to sit out of my profession for a couple of months; no one else does, either.
Tiger’s disciples would counter that his case is different because it was his father who pushed him into golf. But what’s so remarkable about that? Professions run in families. Doctors have children who become doctors. There are thousands of families of firefighters, policemen, soldiers, lawyers, etc. My father was a teacher, and it was his example that led me to the profession.
Finally, I’m sick of hearing about how professional athletes have to face so much pressure.
Pressure? Tiger doesn’t have any idea what pressure is. If he wins, or if he loses, he still gets a bajillion dollars from Nike and his sponsors. With that situation, I’d be completely relaxed. Pressure is trying to please a boss who just can’t be satisfied. Pressure is knowing that if you don’t meet sales and profit targets, you will be fired and without the pay, you’ll lose your house. Pressure is being laid off from the assembly line and trying to find a patchwork of odd jobs to feed your family.
How does doing your job while people are watching constitute pressure? Teachers perform for audiences. Shopkeepers perform daily for the hundreds of customers who visit. If the shopkeeper’s preparation and performance are not sufficient, customers don’t buy, and they are out of business. Line workers perform for an army of supervisors, accountants, executives—and ultimately—thousands of customers. Poor performance leads to bad products, which leads to loss of profit and layoffs.
Yes, golf is hard. But so is accounting. And medicine. And working on the line. With his icy personality, Tiger would be a failure as a teacher. I would be a failure as a professional golfer. We each do what we do.
So lets stop thinking that Tiger is so different. He’s a professional, and he’s doing his job—just as the rest of us are.