In the newspaper game, when a story is ‘above the fold’ it means that the editors believe it is information worthy of your attention. Thus, when you first glance at the front page of your daily delivery, the hot stories covered by your favorite reporter are the ones that their editorial board deemed ‘important’ for the public to see on Page One.
This month’s column centers upon an individual who is also ‘above the fold’. This Father’s Day, I wanted to pay tribute to a man who not only understood the ‘hows’ in training a champion; but a brother who rose up after several major failures in his own life to carry on with determination and dignity. THE MANHOOD LINE “Father of the Year” is none other than the late Earl Woods.
I’ve been scanning the web offerings on Mr. Woods. You can generally tell who ‘liked’ him, based upon whether or not his son, Tiger, had--or has-- ‘trounced’ a favored member of the Golfing establishment. Now, I might not be the quickest brother on the uptake about some things. After all, it took me a little while to figure out why sportswriters were pounding on Barry Bonds--until I realized that he was only a few swings away from placing Babe Ruth’s Home Run record into a third place ranking.
As I write this, Bonds is only one swing away. GO BARRY!
But, I digress. Some of the articles and web offerings I have read about Mr. Woods have left me cold…except for the interview that Rush Limbaugh did with him in his monthly magazine a few years ago, which ‘El Rushbo’ provided an extravaganza of information on this legendary father. The best news--Tiger is just ‘hitting his stride’. The great news--Mr. Woods modeled sacrifice, love, and manhood in bringing Tiger to where he is now.
LEARNING THE LESSONS:
Earl Woods, based upon what I have been reading and observing over time, had to deal with some past trials, tribulations and failings. First, he had to handle his own shortcomings from a previous marriage. Second, he had to overcome the horrors of war and racism. Third, when he KNEW that Tiger was a ‘gifted’ child, he had to map out a careful training program, pass on the realities and sting of racism for people of color in the USA and sacrifice what was a lucrative career of his own. Last, he still had to instill in his children, as well as Tiger, the importance of being an upright adult against the backdrop of a society, which seemed to endlessly point at the ‘easier and less moral’ direction.
Yes, Mr. Woods could have ‘folded’ or taken the okey-doke at any time. Unlike many in our ‘soft boiled’ age of today, he took the hard lessons of life and used them to propel himself forward. In doing so, by making himself ready, WHEN Tiger came along, it was easier to be humbled, and begin the process of training his son for GREATNESS.
Brothers, are YOU ready to sacrifice, be upright, and discipline yourself? IF you are, when that opportunity--be a great job, a great wife, or a great idea--comes along, you will be humble enough to recognize the greatness in it, and move with it to the next level.
Too many brothers TALK a good game, but are NOT willing to TRAIN! The modern young man of today may ‘flow’ seventy-five words a minute, but won’t ‘go’ properly dressed to a job interview!
Can I get an AMEN from the ranks of the unemployed?
Now, I’ve seen the headlines, and read the columns and commentaries. Allegedly, to hear some of the ‘media hardheads’ talk, we--as men--don’t have much to celebrate, and whatever we DO celebrate, isn’t a real victory.
To that I say BALDERDASH!
If you are doing the BEST that you can in taking care of yours, have learned from your mistakes, and have decided to ‘wake up’ instead of ‘sleeping and slipping along’ like some of your friends, you are on the path to TRUE manhood…as well as being a father worthy of honor.
Want to be an upright man? It’s simple…stop believing the lies, and start living the truth.
In our modern age, more seems to be made of the man or woman who has a ream of accomplishments to ‘brag’ about. Why brag if you know that you are successful? One of my favorite sayings comes into play here: “A Black Man doesn’t NEED a Press Conference to prove that he is successful!”
DEVELOP AND LIVE THE RIGHT STANDARD:
What made Mr. Woods effective at training Tiger to be the champion he is today rests in the fact that he prayed, trusted his own instincts, and did not focus his attention on the negatives. Yes, there were struggles and sacrifices. No, his wife and especially young Tiger did not agree with his training regimen. However, as the days ticked by and a grown Tiger put on that first Master’s Green Jacket, it seemed that it paid off in a big league way.
That was ONLY the beginning of the adventure.
Brothers, life is a gamble. It is FAR too easy to do wrong. Not only is it easy to DO wrong, but also it is far too easy to live wrong just to ‘appease’ the crowd. Achievers are frowned upon and ‘dogged out’ in this era of ‘no risk living’. Getting married, THEN having children makes no sense to those who are focused upon physical pleasure rather than long-term commitment--but it makes perfect sense to a brother who is determined to live his life above the fold. The upright brother KNOWS that this is the right thing to do.
We EACH have an internal standard of right and wrong, which God, in his infinite wisdom, has inserted into us. We just have to tune into his frequency through the Bible, set the dial on Jesus Christ and listen to the wisdom being taught. You can’t tune into the right show using the wrong antenna, amen?
Goodbye Mr. Woods. Your legacy lives on because YOU took the time to prepare. Here’s a farewell poem to remind us for the need of upright men, and even more upright fathers. This is called “The Ships That Won’t Go Down” by Henry Lawson:
We hear a great commotion
‘Bout the ship that comes to grief,
That founders in mid-ocean,
Or is driven on a reef;
Because it’s cheap and brittle
A score of sinners drown.
But we hear but mighty little
Of the ships…that won’t go down.
Here’s honour to the builders--
The builders of the past;
Here’s honour to the builders
That builded ships to last;
Here’s honour to the captain,
And honour to the crew;
Here’s double-column headlines
To the ships that battle through.
They make a great sensation
About famous men that fail,
That sink a world of chances
In the city morgue or gale,
Who drink, or blow their brains out,
Because of ‘Fortune’s Frown’,
But we hear far too little
Of the men who won’t go down.
The world is full of trouble,
And the world is full of wrong,
But the heart of man is noble,
And the heart of man is strong!
They say the sea sings dirges,
But I would say to you
That the wild wave’s song’s a paean
For the men that battle through!
Happy Father’s Day to the brotherhood in 2006.
MIKE RAMEY is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE. A syndicated, monthly
column written for men from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective.
It appears on fine websites around the world. Emails, Bmails and Pmails are welcomed
to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2006 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International.
Used by permission, BlackandChristian.com, 2006.