When I initially proposed the idea of knocking off a bucket list item it was to my wife for a world class adventure. We were going to climb Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro. She’s a good athlete and a pretty sturdy soul however one look at the pictures of the bathroom facilities and I was advised to go and have good time. The next call was to our sons knowing they couldn’t care less about where the loo is and what it looks like. A week of father-son bonding; what could be better? Right? Part 2 posted in a week or two will deal with that aspect but first, the nuts and bolts.
It began so simply last November over a cup of coffee and a flyer on the wall of a Starbucks in San Francisco with the slogan “You Belong Here” – ALC11 (AIDS Life Cycle). From San Francisco to Los Angeles; 545 miles over seven days, 2500 cyclists would make their way down the coast to Santa Cruz, sweeping inland through central California wine country and snaking back to the oceanfront at Moro Bay to join the Pacific Coast Highway into Los Angeles. Sounded awesome.
Watching Tiger Woods this weekend at the 2012 Masters I am reminded how fragile and fleeting fame and admiration can be. There was a day not too long ago when Mr. Woods commanded every golf course he set foot on, especially Augusta National in the springtime. So much so that he became the catalyst for revered tracks on the tour to change their entire design and length so as to make it more than a pitch and putt for his brand of play. But then December 2009 happened and few things in the world of golf have been the same since.
Yesterday my wife jokingly (I think) asked if I had upped my anti-depressant dosage to industrial strength. Remarking that I had been in an unusually good mood of late, I responded that I hadn’t watched the news or read the paper since 7:30 a.m. on June 12th. Lest you live in a cave you will recognize this as kick-off time across South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. And on top of that we’re neck deep in a fantastic Laker-Celtic NBA Finals. Ah sports, the salve for the beleaguered soul.
What has made Tiger’s problems most problematic is the squeaky clean persona crafted by his handlers and sponsors which elevated him to a status mere mortals like you and I could never achieve. Unfortunately it turned out that this role model for millions of kids just happened to be human and is subject to all the failings common to the common man.. Now Tiger has to deal with being another celebrity poster child for humiliation, contrition, forgiveness, and redemption. This may not be a bad thing because there are a lot of big boys and girls in our society that could use an example of success in this area.
Walking along the beach in Tel Aviv during the early morning I came upon a group of about 10 preteens marching out into the surf with their surfing instructor. As a reformed surfer I watched for about 30 minutes as their teenage mentor demonstrated the basics of this new adventure. I can remember thinking this was a unique way for wealthy Israelis to get there kids out of the house for a couple hours during the summer; no way would they actually learn this difficult, and often humiliating sport.
The average ‘basic-man’ looks around these days and sees everything is upside down. He wonders what could possibly happen next. We know by now that the military will do everything it is asked to do and yield incredible results that most people will underestimate or fail to acknowledge. We know that Washington DC is a cesspool where the denizens that wear those fancy, prized lapel pins (tax payer purchased) have totally lost their sense of smell. But there are also a few good things ahead; day light savings time, the opening of spring training camp, and most importantly, a midterm election. Here are a few predictions on why it’s still ok to get up in the morning. Enjoy!