Mythical Vs. Real Life Role Models

Two Businessmen Sit Face-To-Face in Serious DiscussionUnless you’ve been in a coma over the last few months, it’s safe to say you’ve read/heard/seen about Tiger Wood’s sex scandal and the many women who’ve played with his club. I’m not here to dissect his recent press conference; you can read about that anywhere. I’m disappointed that we feel he owed the world an apology and with the hype that surrounded the whole debacle. I’m not here to condone adultery. Instead I will explain why we weren’t owed an apology, and why we must be realistic when choosing our mythical role models.

Who are we to judge another person’s mistakes? Who are we to throw rocks? We all have skeletons hanging in our closet that we pray will never be discovered. So why are we holding celebrities to higher standards? They are people, not gods. Our society thrives off of gossip surrounding a-list celebrities, from athletes to musicians to actors and to politicians. Being an A-lister comes with the responsibility of being the “mythical” role model. These mythical role models are created by PR teams, marketing and advertising campaigns, and shaped by perceptions from the media. There is nothing wrong with a mythical role model as long as it’s realistic.

Tiger Woods is a perfect example of a mythical role model. This golf prodigy shot a 48 over nine holes at age three and broke 80 on a full 18 at age eight. These are feats that many amateur golfers try to achieve, but won’t ever come close to. Athletes around the world, young and old, idolize his athleticism and determination to be the best in the game. It is realistic to view Woods as a role model inside the boundaries of a golf course, because he represents what hard work, determination, and an unyielding drive to succeed can accomplish when coupled with God-given natural ability.

But it’s unrealistic to look at him as a role model in any other category, especially real life. When someone asks me, “Who’s your role model?” I don’t say a celebrity. As corny as it sounds, it’s usually a family member, friend or colleague. It’s someone that I personally know and they’re a role model for reasons – like a successful career or a successful marriage. They’re real life people who I know and trust, and can have a conversation with. Tiger Woods is not.

So in reality, if you feel like Tiger Woods owed you (or anyone else other than his wife and the corporations he works with) an apology, then shame on you. You shouldn’t be looking to him as a “true” mentor or role model, and neither should your kids or your friends. He’s a human being and his image is a well crafted myth. He’s someone that you don’t know outside of the commercials you see him in and the tournaments that are on TV. Would you expect an apology from someone who you seriously considered a mentor if he or she cheated on his spouse? Maybe you would, but to expect one from someone you’ve never met and never spoken a word to would be unrealistic, wouldn’t it?

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