Why do we like to cheer for the underdog? Why do we want redemption? We are human and we make mistakes. Read this to learn more.
The comeback “kid.” Before Tiger Woods won the Masters golf tournament for the fifth time and fifth green jacket, there were plenty of articles about Tiger. One article in particular pointed out how it had been a decade since Tiger and his reputation crashed. There was another side of Tiger about which people did know. His marriage dissolved publicly and we now knew all of the details. In 2010, Tiger was not greeted with cheers and a big following. In fact, “Billy Payne, then the Augusta National chairman, had delivered a harsh rebuke, saying Woods did not live up to role model expectations and had ‘disappointed all of us, and more important, our kids and our grandkids.’”
It is true that people who live in the limelight are held up as role models whether they like it or not. Years ago, I remember reading/hearing about Dennis Rodman saying something such as: “I am not a role model. I am an athlete and that is it.” But in talking with students at the time, I said, “A role model is someone other imitate and particularly love to imitate athletes. So Rodman is a role model–although not a positive one at the time.”
I found myself cheering Tiger on and wanting him to win the Masters. Then I asked my husband, “Why am I wanting Tiger to win so badly when he was not a good and faithful husband? When he lived a secret life from his family? …” And then Tiger won. The comeback kid. I was teary watching Tiger with his kids who now got to witness him on top of his game–a game he made popular to watch and to play. One of the commentators made a comments such as that if you were not getting tears watching Tiger and his kids hug after the win, then you were not human.
While I am not sure, I think the answer has to do with redemption, forgiveness, and human goodness. As humans, we make mistakes and we suffer the consequences. Tiger has shown his vulnerability and suffered from his decisions and actions. Perhaps this was the sign he needed to become the person he now wants to be–as if it is a rite of passage from the shadow to the light side of life. Sports Illustrated wrote a great piece about this exact topic. The key is to admit mistakes and own up to them. Vulnerability can be a strength. Life is full of highs and lows, wins and losses, joys and sorrows.
As they say, it is not how you fall or fail, but how you get back up again and live your life. As stated in the article, “Woods, credibly and palpably, is no longer haunted by the most inglorious chapter of his past. He’s O.K. with looking backward. He knows he made a lot of mistakes.”
Why do you think many people were cheering for Tiger to win again?
With so many other top contenders and some who had never won, why cheer on Tiger?
Since we are not perfect, I think most of us want to forgive and to be forgiven as long as we admit our mistakes, learn from them, and humbly live differently.