It was nearly 10 years ago that I first heard the name Tiger Woods. James and I had only been dating a few weeks; we were at the Atlantic Cafe on Nantucket playing out a scene that was to become a familiar one in our lives: He was watching a "skins game" over my shoulder on the bar's TV while I rambled into my quahog chowder, completely unheard.
Out of nowhere, James asked, "Do you know who Tiger Woods is?" I shrugged. "I don't know...plays for the skins?" I had no idea who the christ Tiger Woods was or that a "skins" game was related to GOLF. I never watched golf...why would I know that? Jimmy just looked at me with that mixture of bewilderment and pity similar to when someone pronounces Bono, "Bone-o."
I learned a lot about Tiger that day as well as James who got all googly eyed at the mere mention of his name. Some of James' friends even began calling him "Little Tiger" because of his substantial man crush. A few months later, we sat on the floor on School Street and watched Tiger win his first Masters while Mikey C. made us all dinner in his bamboo vegetable steamer. I watched Tiger stroll off the course and hug his dad and -- having learned all about Tiger and his father and their relationship -- I cried. Not a few renegade tears in the corners of my eyes but a full-on meltdown that lasted well past the presentation of the crappy green jacket.
I sorted myself out and it never happened again...until today. Again, I was sitting on the floor. We were waiting out a thunderstorm at Maria's apartment and witnessed the emotional aftermath of Tiger's winning the British Open. His dad passed away two months ago and it hit him: he would not be hugging his father after this victory or any others ever again. Tiger openly sobbed in his caddie's arms, and then again in his wife's arms. I openly sobbed and frightened my children. A few minutes ago, I saw the news highlights and became unglued all over again. Little Tiger, however, was able to hold it together.