Sunday, September 16, 2007

Athlete of the century?

I think time will tell, and I think yeah, Tiger will be right up there. I've been fortunate enough to see some amazing athletes in my time. From Nadia Comaneci to Karl Lewis to Jordan and Manning. And I honestly don't know enough about athletes from the past, such as Jim Thorpe. But can any of them stack up against Tiger?

He still has a ways to go before he eclipses some of the records of greats like Nicklaus and Snead, but he's closing in on Arnold Palmer on most wins, and he's still in his early 30's. If Tiger keeps up this pace of wins, he could pass the leader, Sam Snead, in about 4 years, when Tiger will be in his mid-30's. Unbelievable. I'm not sure any of us realize how lucky we are to be able to watch him on TV so often, because he is truly one of the great athletes of our time. Ken has seen him play once, in the Chicago area, and we hope to take a weekend one of these days and see him play somewhere. Cool!

What impresses me the most about Tiger is his competitiveness and his need to be the best. I know that sometimes that drive isn't a good thing, but when watching sports, I love nothing better. When we're watching Tiger, Ken likes to say, "Steel trap, man, steel trap..." talking about Tiger's mental game. I see that drive in Manning, too, and although these are some of my favorites, I know there are other athletes out there who have that drive. The question is, what do they do about it? It's one thing to want to win. We ALL want to win. But do they strive--always--to be better? Do they practice for hours and hours, do they watch tapes? When game time comes, is their entire focus on winning that game? I love to see that kind of commitment. I certainly don't want to be that consumed, and I'm glad Ken isn't that consumed, but when it comes to sports, it's some fun stuff to watch. I do like to take a little bit of a lesson from people like that, though, and strive for doing the best work I can do and being the best person I can be. In normal life, it's not really a matter of competing against others, it's a matter of challenging yourself to do your best. 

Congrats to Tiger on winning the first ever FedEx Cup! He earned it fair and square. Not a bad payoff, either, at a cool ten mil.

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