April 14th, 2014 -- The Tin Men Of Champions
He was the idiot that needed a heart in the Wizard of Oz,” right? The Tin Man? So do these clowns, and seemingly so many more members of our most elite society today who achieve unthinkable success and then either whine about it, fail to appreciate it, or both. To whit; I present the following quotes from this past Friday:
The Master’s Golf Tournament was this weekend in Augusta, Georgia, the first major of the year. It was also the first Master’s Tournament without Tiger Woods since 1994, so every participant was able to grab a little more of the limelight than usual; enter the crying champion of 2012, Bubba Watson, who made sure we all know just how difficult it is to achieve a lifelong dream and be burdened by success:
“…It drains you a lot more than you know,’ he said. ‘So as soon as you win, you get a green jacket on you. Every sponsor that you have, every company you represent, they want a piece of your time, they want more of your time. And yellow (Masters) flags? I've seen enough of those. I really don't want to sign too many more of those yellow flags. I think I've signed every single one since 2012.’ It was just too much for him, and he got caught up in all of it.”
Oh, Poor Bubba. We’re so sorry that winning the dream championship of your chosen career field was so draining. It must be tough cashing that $1.5 million check and having all of those sponsors lavish praise and attention and millions more in cash upon you. You’re right, Bubba, that does sound draining, having to fly from city to city on your private jet, cut commercial after commercial and talk to fan after fan who all “want a piece of you.” How hard it must be to be wanted in our society, I’m sure plenty of lonely, desolate Americans who feel no one loves them at all have a ton of sympathy for you. Christ, I’m sure the guys that finished behind you have a ton of sympathy for you. Maybe we should go back in time and see if Matt Kuchar or Lee Westwood, two guys who finished within a few shots of Bubba Watson at the 2012 master’s, and have still never won a major tournament, would like to trade places with him? I wonder if they’d resent all of the demands on their time, or if they’d be drained by their careers being made for a lifetime? It would be an interesting experiment, wouldn’t it?
Whining, on any level, about success, is only trumped by whining about the highest level of success. Everyone has problems, but one of the burdens of those who truly achieve is to shut the hell up and recognize that even if your problems are real, no one wants to hear them, no one cares, no one can relate, and no one has any sympathy for you, nor should they. Suck it up, Watson and act like a winner. You’ve been an embarrassment to the ring of champions since you began your tearful march across this nation as a man incapable of showing any sort of machismo, drive to achieve a new level of success, or pride in your accomplishment. Give the Green Jacket back, keep the money and ride off into the sunset, allowing room for a true winner to emerge.
And then there’s radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh who, love him or hate him, is by any and all measure the single most successful radio host of all time, leaving all others in the dust. Regardless of how he got there and what you think of his style and/or politics, the man must be given his due credit for creating an industry of followers on a variety of levels. Now in his 28th year of hosting his talk show, and worth an estimated $250 million, Limbaugh made the following remarks on his radio show Friday:
Success is not at all what I thought it would be. Ah, some of it is, but there's so much I didn't expect, didn't anticipate…I thought that the longer the success track lasts, the easier things get. Not that you phone it in, but just that the pressure subsides, because you've already proven yourself. Being successful, being at the pinnacle means you've proven it. I'm here to tell you it's the exact opposite…I'm not complaining about it. It's just that it's not what I thought it was gonna be. I thought things would slow down, that there would be a little bit more stopping, smelling the roses, enjoying myself. It's none of this. It's the exact opposite…”
Then you’re doing it wrong, Rush! There is, of course, an admirable side to what he’s saying in that he acknowledges the hard work and dedication that it takes to remain at the top of any field, but I highly doubt that anyone has any sympathy for a man who set out to become the biggest thing in his industry, achieved it, and then realized that staying on top is a lot harder than getting there.
But none of that is the saddest thing about his rant. Pressure, for one, is self-inflicted. Just like no one can make you feel badly about yourself (you allow that emotion to take over inside of you), no one can pressure you to do anything. You allow yourself to feel as though the demands of others are to be met, and so you constantly push aside your desire to have a snack, watch a ballgame, take a trip or lay on the beach so that you can do their bidding, all while they hold some form of threat over you, real or implied; “we need this or the client won’t be happy…this has to be done or we’ll lose money…you’re the only one who can do this…” Those are all hollow threats made by desperate people who haven’t been told “no,” by the target.
Which leads us the worst part, when Rush says “I thought that there would be a little more stopping, smelling the roses, enjoying myself. It’s none of this.”
Regardless of what I may feel about Rush as a person or a broadcaster, at this notion, I feel only one thing for him as a human being: pity. What a wasted life. To have achieved what he has, financially, internationally, professionally, influentially, and otherwise, for him to be in his mid-60’s and have more than most will ever even smell and to not have smelled the roses along the way is nothing more than pathetic. To so badly be needed every day by everyone else to have not enjoyed himself to the level he had earned is so very sad, and such a wonderful cautionary tale for all who chase success.
So to Bubba, Rush and the rest, my dad’s life advice remains in tact; find contentment but never complacency. It appears from the outside that neither of these men have ever come close to either, which is a life half lived. Good for Rush to not be complacent, shame on him for his lack of contentment. For Bubba, he remains an embarrassment of the riches of America; where any scumbag with a little talent can achieve the dream and then bitch, moan and whine about it all the way home. Which is where I hope he goes, and stays.