We saw a trifecta of teachable moments provided by larger-than-life figures in their own fields this weekend. And the plan is to talk about each of them in coming days. I suspect you can readily name which public figures I'll be writing about, but just in case, they are: Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, and Tim Russert.
Or rather, since a gazillion words and videominutes have been devoted to Mr. Russert already in all quarters, the lesson of the Friends of Tim.
Sunday, Tiger Woods played familiar ground in the U.S. Open, but it was ground that had been altered. The course "toughened up" to challenge all the players, not just Woods. Tiger had been "toughened up" too—walking the course on a surgery-ed knee that some said was not yet ready for the rigors of a championship game.
Mr. Sunshine reminded me of a time when Tiger's father reminisced about the hours they played together when Tiger was a boy, how he'd drop things just as Tiger was about to swing or putt, or make noise. And when Tiger complained, he'd tell him that nobody else would be better prepared to play, when the time came, than Tiger.
That showed in Sunday afternoon's play, in the moments when sports announcers muttered darkly about why did he aim that way, what happened to that swing...and even the moment when Tiger's own temper was on full display as he smashed down a club.
And yet, he played on, red-shirt dogged with the drive of competition.
He was behind Rocco Mediate at the 18th Hole. Rocco already in the clubhouse watching on teevee.
And yet, the character of a true champion resonated with each swing as Tiger showed a living lesson in playing through pain, in striving for excellence, in never giving up, in being an athlete showing all who seek to emulate him what true sportsmanship is, in being a new father giving his own child a worthy role model on Father's Day.
And then he made that last putt, a birdie, to tie up the game, set up today's playoff. He knew it was going in and the exuberance, the celebration, was itself an act of beauty. Already a winner, always a champion.
UPDATE—and it's almost anticlimactic, isn't it: Tiger Woods wins the U.S. Open sudden death playoff on a birdie.
Until the next time, some thoughts worth your time:
On Barack Obama, by scarecrow at firedoglake.
On Tim Russert, by egregious.
And I'll have more to say, as well.
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