It culminated when I was forced to suffer through The View while on a treadmill at the gym. The ladies interviewed some dude named Perez Hilton, while Barb Walters’ tightly bound faced seemed ready to spring across the room like a boomerang.
Not surprising, the gossip-fest seemed to center on Tiger Woods. And to my horror, I realized a terrifying truth. I was one of them.
You see, immediately after Eldrick allegedly realized hell hath no fury like a woman scorned — especially if that woman is holding a Big Bertha — I wanted details. We all wanted details. The Internet, the 24-hour newsies and TMZ (which future generations will point to as the low point of American society) began prying and digging and scheming for those details. The more salacious the specifics were — the better.
Typically, when my wife comes home, I greet her in one of three ways:
2. How was your day?
3. The fire department says you can’t let me cook anymore.
They were all replaced with a giddy "Did you hear about Tiger?"
So I asked why.
Why do we give a damn?
Why do we claw, scratch, clamor and gush when one of our sports icons, or any celebrity for that matter, screws up?
We are the ones that put them up on undeserving pedestals to begin with. Yet when they fall, we act with outrage and condemnation, all the while degenerating into Mrs. Kravitz.
We hold them in a light of the heavens, then creepily wait for a stain to celebrate.
It reminded me of a good friend, a former athlete himself, who refuses to buy player jerseys for his son. Any player. Any sport. Not happening. He says, "Why would I have my son idolize these men in that way? They are just men."
Now I’m not saying we take all of our gear and memorabilia and recreate Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey. But somewhere between the sheer idolatry and needing to know every closeted skeleton has to be healthy appreciation of their skill and the entertainment they provide.
Many are legitimately messed up. It comes with fame and money and prestige and from being told you have eclipsed the greatness of sliced bread since you were in diapers.
But our insatiable desire for their dirt doesn’t exactly paint us in the best of lights, either.
Collectively, we have the right to be offended by Tiger’s behavior. I am also a little offended by my own.