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The Audacity of Tiger Woods to Say What We All Really Think

April 10, 2013
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“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21

Tiger Woods’ new ad is making the rounds and causing quite the stir. It seems the folks over at Nike in cahoots with Eldrick himself have conspired for yet another stellar publicity stunt (I think the saying goes something like ‘all publicity is good publicity,’ right?). If you are interested Rick Reilly over at ESPN has a well written piece and planting his flag squarely in the “this is crap and we shouldn’t put up with it!” camp. Reilly is right to intuit, contra Tiger, that no, “Winning doesn’t take care of everything. There are some stains winning can’t scrub clean. Like the worst sex scandal in pro sports history. Like talking about being sorry but never walking it. Like pretending you’re going to curb your temper and your filthy mouth on the golf course and then doing nothing of the kind… Life is life and lies are lies. Playing golf well doesn’t buy you forgiveness or redemption or peace. The road to heaven isn’t paved with giant novelty checks. Ask Lance Armstrong if winning takes care of everything. Ask Pete Rose. Ask Joe Paterno’s family. If winning took care of everything, why is the winning prison softball team still in prison? If you’re Elin Nordegren, his ex-wife, and you see that line, “Winning Takes Care of Everything,” don’t you throw your laptop across the room? He cheated on her with a parade of porn stars, Vegas escorts and even a daughter of a neighbor. I’m thinking another win at Bay Hill isn’t going to take care of much for her. The problem isn’t ‘winning takes care of everything.’ The problem is that Woods clearly believes it does.

tiger woods winning

Reilly is, intentionally or not, stumbling upon something deliciously profound: namely that our winning ways can never undo our losses. It’s ironic, the shock at Tiger’s ad has engendered, I mean isn’t that the way most of the world actually thinks? The shock then, is to have a mirror held up to us for us to see the absolute hubris we all posses in thinking that the “way to heaven is paved with giant novelty checks” that winning can actually scrub clean our stained souls. We want this wisdom to work and passively live as if it is way the world actually turns. Good making up for bad, praiseworthy behavior somehow undoing behavior worthy of blame. All this ad does is highlight how absolutely silly this wisdom is, how very trivial winning actually is in a world full of losing. Human winning, be it religious winning, family winning, sports winning, career winning, dream winning, all fall tragically short of dealing with the world’s losing streak. Tiger Wood’s winning or ours is about as meaningful as a Washington Generals victory over the Harlem Globetrotters, it is only noteworthy because it happens so rarely. Our winning, the apostle Paul discovered, was only considered “rubbish (Philippians 3:8).”pantsed

“Jesus came to save a lost and losing world by his own lostness and defeat; but in this wide world of losers, everyone except Jesus remains firmly, if hopelessly, committed to salvation by winning. It hardly matters to us that the victories we fake for ourselves are two-bit victories, or that the losses (and losers) we avoid like the plague are the only vessels in which saving grace comes; we will do anything rather than face either the bankruptcy of our wealth or the richness of our poverty.” Robert Farrar Capon

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2013 12:19 pm

    Great post. This explains why winning the lottery, too, is actually one of the worst things that could happen to a person.

  2. Wichit permalink
    April 14, 2013 5:59 pm

    I am totally agree with Sam.

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