Tiger, Burning Bright

Watching Tiger Woods do what he does better than anyone on the planet simultaneously inspires and humbles those who dare to be great — at anything. His deal is golf, a sport that poetically integrates athleticism with introspection. But it might as well be something else. Woods is clearly someone who has harnessed the dual chakras of determination and concentration. His ability to perform at the loftiest level when the stakes are highest, to do what others can do only when the stakes are low, separates him from nearly every other elite athlete. He’s an astonishing freak. 

Let us not forget, however, the amount of sacrifice and single-mindedness required to be the Greatest, whether it’s a difficult to master sport like golf or an easily learned activity like playing the bongos. People like Woods who are demonstrably better at something than every other living human being have given much of their life, their waking moments and their dreams, to one task. This monomaniacal concentration is frightening and awe-inspiring, and it’s the “secret” to a champion’s success. Achieving matters more to these peculiar heroes than anything else.

Witnessing Woods distinguishing himself (yet again) from every other incomprehensibly talented golfer on Earth is an honor and a lesson. Yes, it probably would be cool to be Tiger Woods for a day. But how many of us would be willing to do what he has done throughout his storied life to prepare for exalted triumphs?

That’s why he’s Tiger Woods. And everyone else, including the dozen or so next best players in his sport, can only gawk in admiration.

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