Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Christmas Carol for Tiger Woods

This weekend marks the arrival of the winter solstice - our longest night of the year, and clearly the infamous Tiger Woods is experiencing a major 'Dark Night of the Soul'.

As much as I am sick to death of hearing about this story - he is still a bright, well educated man who has unlimited potential to re-create his future. Charles Barkley said on CNN that Tiger needs to "talk to a famous person, who truly understands." I agree he needs role models for sure. But, who would they be?

I took my daughter to see the new Disney Christmas Carol movie yesterday. The animation was fantastic, and the archetype of Ebenezer Scrooge serves as a profound reminder of how many are trapped in a dark and hopeless place - dominated by money, power or greed. Scrooge had become a bitter man, and didn't know a way out. During the film, Tiger Woods popped into my head- what ghosts would come and visit him while he is in hiding; shaking in night shirt and cap?

Ghost of Christmas Past: Paul Newman.
Can you just see those baby blues still? All zipped up in his racing suit, imagine Newman floating in to Wood's yacht and gently whispering his famous quote, "What could be better than holding your hand out to those that are less fortunate than you are?" Newman maintained an enviable marriage to Joanne Woodward, kept his joy stick and testosterone funneled in racing cars, and through his giving nature - became one of the world's most important philanthropists.

The famous salad dressing began as a simple gift for friends at Christmas time, and that act of giving took on a life of its own. Today, the Newman's Own Foundation has given over $280 million to charities. In particular, the Hole in the Wall camps was the twinkle of Newman's eye, and he spent hours anonymously with the children.

Newman said, "Whenever I am in the dumps, I come up here, to camp, and it reaffirms everything that I think is really good and generous about this world. " The way to salvation is holding up all the Tiny Tim's who can reopen possibility.

Here is the ghost of Christmas Past himself:

Ghost of Christmas Present: David Letterman.
Get in front of the story baby! No one approves of sexual liaisons, but it does not have to dominate the news 24/7, unless there is mystery and intrigue in the mix. Take a tip from the man himself - this golf tournament was botched beyond belief, so get out of the sand trap and back on a new green - for everyone's sake. Letterman joked that Tiger should stop coming to him for advice, yet also offers a role model of how to get on with business, and the public will follow. Here's Letterman's ghost, with his buddy Tom Hanks, offering a few tips of humorous wisdom:

Ghost of Christmas Future: A young philanthropist; inspired by the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Let's face it; Tiger Woods earns a lot of money: $700 million per year from Nike endorsements alone. A lot of good can come from that money. Kids are out there waiting to be inspired, and the Ghost of Christmas present is a young man who was the winner of a contest sponsored by the Tiger Woods Foundation. At the end of this clip of an excited teenager opened up an iPod touch, and said, "because of a good thing I did, I was rewarded for it. But it would have been worth it even without a reward." Check it out:

There is room for so much more, and maybe Woods' retirement from golf can fuel even greater creative enthusiasm towards the various charitable endeavors already created in his name, like the Tiger Woods Learning Center in CA.

Even though the cold of winter is just beginning, after this weekend every day will gradually grow a little bit lighter. Isn't that comforting in so many ways? With that in mind, let's leave Tiger with his ghosts, and make it a point to turn away from stories that spark shame, humiliation and support a shameless celebration of infidelity. Let the ghosts of philanthropy, humor and possibility remind all of us what is important. You can make a difference by throwing open the shutters of what closes you off, being brave and helping to make a difference in someone's life.

"God bless us, everyone," Tiny Tim.

What say you, Huff Po readers? Any other ghosts who can offer sage advice in this modern day Christmas Carol? We always welcome comments and discussion, and have a happy holiday.

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