He’s not my type, nor am I his, but I’ve met several Tigers in my forty plus years “on the road.” Early days, while I was still in graduate school and single (yes, I really was young once and quite a hotty), he was a Boston Bruin star. I was working full time days as a programmer trainee at John Hancock Life Insurance and going for my MBA nights at Boston University. With limited time for a social life, why not go for intensity? Picture me in the wives/girlfriends box cramming for my production management exam while keeping one eye on the ice. That relationship was doomed, but it was sure fun while it lasted. Smart, independent, career-oriented, Jewish girls didn’t marry Boston Bruins, at least not in the early 70’s, but then not all relationships have marriage as their goal (or goalie?).
If I had had nothing more to look forward to than a dead-end job and a short “prime,” I might have seen marriage to my Bruin as a real step up in the world, as did all the other girls (we weren’t called women then) in the wives/girlfriends box. With one eye on the ice, and production management on my brain, I still couldn’t help but overhear those girls talk — and talk they did — about life as a sport star’s girl. Yuck! They might as well have been high priced hookers they way they acknowledged the infidelities, abuses, and generally bad behavior of their beaus/spouses in the same breath as they discussed first class travel and shopping expeditions. I cringed then at the very thought of what these gals were willing to put up with in order to live in the limelight with plenty of spending money, but I’m sure they were equally put off by my life.
I hadn’t thought about that briefest of relationships until the Tiger Woods mess was being discussed among the Enterprise Irregulars. Remember his gorgeous, blond, former bikini model wife? Unless he confesses to goat lust or child abuse or bizarre behavior with his clubs, trophy wife may well not leave given the $$ at stake. If she’s like those hockey wives/girlfriends of so long ago, she knew the life bargain she was making. Tiger didn’t marry her for her education or career accomplishments, and I doubt that she’s entirely surprised by his penchant for gorgeous women. But even trophy children — and his certainly are — have the right to expect their parents to care more about them than about their own careers or comfort. Where’s the communal outrage about the impact that all this nonsense will have on those two little kids?
Of course Tiger’s a $HIT. And if he were my husband I’d have gone after him with a lot more than a putative golf club! But everyone who was involved closely with his career/business, including those who managed his relationships for sponsors, must have known something was up because there are no secrets in our always on/always watching/captured electronically/replayed forever world. As for his privacy rights? He gave up most of those when he invited us to trust his taste in everything from consulting firms to sports drinks. Just like the priest, who’s all about celibacy, denouncing fornication from the rooftops, who gets caught sexually abusing children, you can’t set yourself up as Mr. Clean star athlete and not expect to get hammered when women start coming out of the woodwork with putative evidence that you’re not.
My Bruin was a real gentleman, and I remember him fondly. Fortunately, my life before maturity was not recorded for everyone’s amusement. It was a simpler and much more private time, but I was nonetheless painfully aware even then that the reporters asking me questions about our relationship weren’t interested in anything but selling newspapers. Smut (what a lovely, old-fashioned word) and voyeurism sold as well then as it does today, just through fewer outlets and with no eternal electronic memory, complete with video. The behavior of many of today’s star athletes, really celebrities of all kinds, makes me gag. Worse yet is the behavior of the media and the public who alternate between fawning over folks and being titillated by the details of their bad behavior. All the more reason to support PBS.