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Monday
Nov 24th

(Mr. T's Sports Report) You play to the level of your competition

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mickelson_philtigerwoods_paddybriggsAs a track athlete I was talented, but lazy.  I ran my best when faced with the biggest challenges. I ran to the level of my competition.  Sometimes I would try to turn in top- notch performances when facing minimal opposition, but it was hard to duplicate that nervous fire that existed when I knew there was someone in the race that could make me look real silly if I didn’t perform somewhere close to my best.  Obviously there is a lesson to be learned there.

Funny how the players on the PGA (Professional Golf Association) Tour are playing better now that Tiger Woods is back.  Tiger’s main competition, Phil Mickelson, has been fairly quiet in terms of success during the 8 months that Tiger was away from the sport.  Tiger comes back, and all of a sudden Mickelson decides to play some of his best golf in years.  Mickelson typically loafs around in a jolly, easygoing, type fashion when Tiger is not playing.  This past tournament, Tigers second since coming back from knee surgery, Mickelson had no smile on his face, just a steely focus.  What was the result?  Let’s just say that Mickelson walked away with $1.4 million dollars.

Now let me express something important as a sports fan, and fan of life: You must watch Tiger Woods!  Just like Jessie Owens, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson, Jackie Robinson, Wilt Chamberlain, and whomever you would personally add to this list, Tiger Woods is a must see attraction.  For those who don’t play golf, I would suggest to pay attention to the reactions of those who do.  The general consensus of the two most difficult things to do in sports are A. Hitting a baseball thrown by a Major League pitcher, and B. Hitting a golf ball with the accuracy and consistency of professional golfers.  Not only is Tiger Woods the best golfer alive right now, but halfway through his career most already consider him the best golfer ever.  I always enjoy watching someone whom has perfected a craft and Tiger Woods is such as person.

Tiger Woods was bred by his father to press the limits of human ability in the areas of discipline, hard work, and spiritual balance.  Tigers father was an elite member of the military, and he introduced his son to this same approach when it came to the sport of golf.  This was likely revolutionary thinking in the early 80’s, as far as golf is concerned.  For that matter, I don’t necessarily subscribe to that approach being good for most kids at such a young age, but Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters in tennis, are examples of how that approach to training your kids can possible pay off…for everyone.

Certainly Tiger Woods competition didn’t grow up with this same kind of training, and though they may try and pick up some of his characteristics when he is around, they weren’t run through a golf bootcamp everyday from the time that they were able to walk.  The other golfers are simply trying to emulate him, and just like Kobe Bryant is not quite the same icon that Michael Jordan was, the other golfers of today are not the same icon that Tiger Woods is.  Tiger Woods is a leader.  Michael Jordan is a leader.  Jackie Robinson is a leader.  One major thing that sets leaders apart is that they compete with themselves. 

There are a few other golfers that seem to work nearly as hard as Tiger Woods, but they can’t overcome the headstart that life bestowed upon Tiger.  I think Tigers most daunting competition will come from someone in the younger generation, though I don’t think we will see his kind for many moons.

People like Tiger are good for the world.  They transform the world.  They compete with something that resides deep within their being.  Everyone is not born to be a Tiger Woods, but everyone can follow the lead of such world examples in order to get the best out of themselves and their lives.  The players on the PGA Tour should thank Tiger for making them better golfers who can dream bigger than they did before him, not to mention making more money.  I bet Black Harvard Law School students have a different view on the world these days too.  Dang I love making reference to President Obama.  I really want to see who tops his act!

 

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