One of the things we become painfully aware of as we age is the passage of time. We all have aspirations and dreams and a short time on Earth to manifest them. The core stress comes from the thought that we will die unrequited. We never fully achieve a dream that is truly worthy of them. But every once in a while, we have a moment and glimpse into what we are truly capable of achieving on that path.
Athletic achievements reveal what is best about the human spirit. I think about Alex Honnold's free solo attempt on el Cap or the twin Gold medals in Hockey that Canada earned in Vancouver in 2010, the ladies working against the clock with a seemingly unrecoverable deficit. I will remember my whole life where I was when I witnessed Tiger Woods shake off a seemingly unrecoverable deficit to win another Major–with my dad.
When Tiger Woods was at the start of his infamous "troubles", many of his sponsors and fans abandoned him citing a disappointing lack of character as the reason. Understandable and fair criticism. One company, however chose to stick with him. I've read several books about the founding of Nike including Shoedog (the memoir of Phil Knight). One thing that is abundantly clear to me is the extent to which the company is prepared to honor it's higher purpose: do everything possible to expand human potential. The soul of the company is about the great human enterprise to overcome obstacles both internal and external to achieve worthwhile victories. It's the soul of sport itself. Nike had this ad ready right after the victory...
As I watched the 2019 edition of the Master's this year, the superficial victory seemed to be against a field of massively talented competitors, many of whom were quite a bit younger than Woods. Indeed, it was only in 2017 that Tiger himself proclaimed that he doubted he'd ever play again. But as well as he might have played to win his 15th Major, the contest I was interested in was not the man-against-man contest in any particular golfing event; it was the man-against-himself drama that began the moment he crashed his Escalade just under ten years ago. I've been rooting for him ever since. I'm a sucker for a good redemption story.
(Tiger with his dad Earl at his first Master's win and with his son Charlie above as history repeats itself.)
Many of the people I coach are at their best as parents. There is something about our children that is a constant reminder and inspiration to be better and do better. We can apply the strength we develop as parents to tackle the biggest obstacles we face in life. I think every opportunity in life is the opportunity to become a better version of myself, to overcome my inner demons and build my character in the face of my challenges. This is not just an inspiration hopefully to my children but an inspiration to my community. And Tiger has a massive community to serve. And he did his job this Sunday.