The romanticized era was one of delineation. There were Greasers. There were Socs. (Soft c, pronounced soshs, short for Socials.) Haves and Have Nots. Those who were “popular” and those not so.
The captain of the team was sandy haired, cocky, from a family up on the hill that belonged to the country club. A Soc, for sure.
The captain of the cheerleading squad was blonde, popular, a lust object, from a family up on the hill that belonged to the country club. A Soc, for sure.
While most of us were neither Socs nor Greasers, but occupants of a diffuse middle ground, we talked. Talked about those “nice” girls who, for some unfathomable reason, were attracted to the guy who smoked and road his motorcycle to school. Talked about the cool kids in the school, the ones at the table on the other end of the lunchroom, those whom we longed to be.
Then would come the Splendor In The Grass moment. That blonde cheerleader would disappear, though her family was still on the hill. Rumors ensued. That cocky QB was still on the team, but no longer captain. And we knew, though we’d only talk about it in the bathrooms or off school grounds, that there was a baby Soc on the way.
Then the tide would turn on those we had just the week before longed to be. There would be some satisfaction for those who felt faceless that there was a comeuppance.
It would be all we talked about. Even if the team won the game, and it was a greaser who led the way. Even if the new cheer queen was pretty cute, albeit a brunette. People slow and gawk at accidents, right?
* * * * *
That jolting, jerked from the throne of popularity moment has come for Tiger Woods. (None too soon for me, I might add. No longer lost in the 50s, I’ve never abided the adulation.)
It is obvious, despite his precipitous decline to golfing mediocrity, he is still the story.
Adam Scott won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational by four strokes this weekend. Which I mention because you might have missed the news amid the loud furor that is Tiger’s demise and Stevie Williams’ rise.
Scott’s caddie, if you haven’t already heard, used to tote Tiger’s bag. Imagine who got the headlines after the 72d hole yesterday. And again this morning. At ESPN.com, the winner’s name wasn’t even mentioned in the Headlines. Which read, “Williams Helps Scott Win WGC” and “Woods 18 Off.”
At CBSsports.com, the header read, “Bagged: World Title.” With this addition, “Adam Scott fires a 65 to win at Bridgestone, but his caddie hears the cheers . . . only in the soap opera that is Tiger Woods’ life could Scott’s gutsy performance become a secondary story.”
SI.com had a bit more perspective. The header there read, “Scott wins with Woods’ ex-caddie.”
How do I plead, Your Honor? Guilty. I, too, am writing about Tiger and Stevie this morning. Not only am I watching this train wreck with relish, I have pulled over to the side of the road to make sure I take it all in.
Thanks to my old editor Cary Stemle, who sent me the link, I reread Charles Pierce’s penetrating profile of Tiger Woods, published in Esquire in 1997. You can read it here.
Pierce, a most perceptive observer, saw it coming. The immaturity. The philandering. The royal sense of entitlement.
By most accounts, Tiger Woods did not wear his success with grace. He’s always been terse with the press. As the story goes, he never tipped the Valhalla clubhouse attendant for shining his shoes during the PGA. He cheated on his now ex-wife. A lot.
He’s fired about every faithful servant in his inner circle. As if his problems are their fault. He’s made the insufferable Steve Williams seem a good guy. And turned him into a star.
I am disgusted with Tiger Woods. But I can’t stop watching.
How do I plead to Schadenfreude in the 1st degree, Your Honor?
Guilty as charded.
– Seedy K