Rooting for Tiger, rooting for myself.
It is somewhat curious that we find ourselves rooting for, and moved by the victory of, an elite athlete who has well-documented incidents of less than admirable behavior, and never was particularly socially conscious. I was crying as I watched him charge off the 18th green and hug his children, and I know I wasn't alone.
So, why is it?
In general, I think it's because we know him so well, and have been watching him for the past 20+ years, and we're familiar with him. Kind of like how we root for the local sports team, regardless of the character of the players or quality of the ownership and management (I say, as I root for this 76ers team that I don't particularly like that pursued a strategy I am diametrically opposed to.)
But for me, it goes a little deeper than that.
I am almost exactly as olds as Tiger Woods -- he was born a little more than four months after me.
Like him, I think my career started with a series of victories (though my successes were obviously less notable). Like him, I have encountered personal difficulties, some of which I have contributed to, which have made those victories less frequent and less impressive. Like him, I have seen a number of talented younger people enter my profession.
And I wonder. Can I still hack it? Do I still have any great victories left in me? Should I continue to invest in myself, or would it be better to focus on developing the next generation?
What Tiger's victory represents to me is hope. Obviously I am not as talented in my field as Tiger is in his, but there is still hope for me, there is still the possibility that I can again create something great. That there will come a time and situation where my experience and wisdom will be more valuable than pure talent.
And so I celebrate Tiger's victory. Even if his adversaries have demonstrated greater character. Even if much of the adversity he's had to overcome is self-inflicted. If he can work his way back to victory again, maybe I can too.
That's worth rooting for.