Monday, June 16, 2008

The Tiger and The Roc(co): Father's Day and Obama's Bummer

The San Diego Father's Day at the U.S. Open started out with the usual domestic contenders and foreign suspects, but in the end it narrowed down to a classic duel between an unlikely duo, the once and future king of golf, Tiger Woods, and the journeyman jester of the links, Rocco Mediate. In the end you didn't WANT it to end, so compelling was the drama between the new dad and wounded warrior Woods, and the over-the-hill hacker but beloved father Mediate, you almost wished it could end in a tie, and in effect it did, at least for a day. Meanwhile, back in Chicago, Barack Obama, the presidential candidate still searching for another father figure (not to mention another church), spoke about fatherhood at a South Side church, but for hundreds of real fathers, his speech couldn't end soon enough.

"Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are most dependent on our family," Barack preached yesterday at the Apostolic Church of God. "The family is that most important foundation, and we are called to recognize how critical every father is to that foundation [but] ... too many fathers are missing, they've abandoned their responsibilities."

Of course, while both Woods and Mediate appear to be devoted, traditional fathers, they are also archetypes. Woods' trials Sunday, where he tried to triumph with a painful post-op knee, represented the struggle every father goes through when he goes to work to support his family at (far) less than 100%. Meanwhile, Rocco's having to qualify with men half his age just to get into the Open and then nearly pulling off the ultimate dream for his sons when saner types told him to retire to a more typical job for his age, is the ultimate father and son experience. Certainly with 64 career PGA victories and golf earnings of over 81 million dollars (plus perhaps ten times that in endorsements), Woods, at 32, doesn't need to compete for financial reasons, and with five wins and 4-1/2 million in earnings, Rocco Mediate is not exactly your typical journeyman mechanic. Yet this fact does not make their journey to be good father figures any less meaningful, nor does the fact Obama spoke some truth make his words any less hollow.

This year's Open saga will end Monday with both men, win or lose, hugging their families, and millions of men, inspired by the golfers' fighting examples, will be moved to do the same. But Barack's message begins to be put into practice on Tuesday, when the state that hosts this year's U.S. Open opens up the definition of marriage to gays as well. So in opposition to Tiger and Rocco's true display of devoted fatherhood, Obama's solution to families (while Barack says he is personally opposed to gay marriage, he supports the state's right to choose, not to mention gay adoption) that have no fathers is to start "families" that have two, or else have the traditional mother get rid of her son or daughter before the unborn's father can flee. Either way, Obama fails. A missing father should not equal a dead daughter, and two gay dads are not better than none when it comes to raising a son. Better to have a son raised by a single mother, with the noble example of men like Tiger and Rocco to supplement it, than the unnatural example of men partaking in selfish non-family building sex. So while I'm a big fan of Tiger, I'd rather extol Rocco than grasp onto Obama's sinking "rock."

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