Mistakes - Responsible or Irresponsible?

There are two kinds of mistakes in life, Responsible or Irresponsible.

The focus tends to be on (and should) the BIG irresponsible ones like adultery. misguided relationships or bad parenting but there are a host of others that can cause just as much misery including family, career, financial or lack of common sense.

A Responsible mistake = One has thought through the consequences of an action beforehand; knows the worst possible outcome and is willing to live with the decision. One's life still can be damaged severely but at least there was serious thought and contemplation about the action. This kind of mistake can always be respected.

An Irresponsible mistake = An action where one just "throws caution to the wind" and gets moved by the emotion of the situation without any regard to the consequences. Acting without thought. People do get lucky and survive this mistake (as you will see in # 2 below) but invariably lives get damaged when irresponsibility rears its ugly head.

Below are 5 examples to ponder:

1) A Family Man's Demise (name has been changed)

Bob is married with two children and has a decent marriage. They have their issues like most couples and his wife is a good woman. Bob is tempted by a colleague at work that is flirting with him and the woman knows he is married. She has no college degree and no real ambition (unlike his wife) although she is very attractive. Bob begins an affair and enjoys the excitement and passion; something that was lacking in his marriage.

During the affair, Bob has a chance to advance his career but would need to move the family out of town. His wife doesn't support him as she doesn't want to move. Bob wants this job but lets the opportunity pass by which obviously pleases his wife. Not long after, Bob's wife mysteriously finds out about this new woman. How? The woman subtly and secretly informs his wife and a messy divorce follows.

Bob never lives with his family under the same roof again. Along with paying hefty alimony, he lives with the mistress as his options are limited. Bob is rarely happy in the world he created and his kids grow up with another man after his wife remarries.

Did Bob make a responsible or irresponsible mistake? Irresponsible. Bob never considered the fact that this woman had no redeeming qualities except looks and was out for her own needs. He only saw the physical and let emotion rule his decision.

A responsible mistake could have been to "nip the temptation in the bud" by telling his wife soon after the affair began so that they could make decisions together based on what was best for the family. A real man would have confronted his wife BEFORE acting on the temptation that wrecked his family's life.

Consequences should be seriously considered if one is going to take a bite from the fruit of temptation. (See my "Temptation - Don't Fall for It" article in the April section)

2) Lucky to Escape (a different friend)

After finally ending an 8 year relationship, he was a single man again with a broken heart. Like so many in this position, he wanted immediate comfort and acted irresponsibly with his "on the rebound" prowl. Unfortunately, he found comfort in a woman who wanted a baby and quickly became pregnant. He had no intention of being with this woman. Miserable was now his label and the inevitable child support added additional stress.

During this akward situation, his "rebound" lady had a miscarriage. While it is sad to lose any baby, this person was lucky to escape from a relationship that was doomed from the beginning. His irresponsible mistake almost cost him a lifetime of certain pain. He lucked out and dodged the bullet from his irresponsibility.

I started with these true life scenarios as I have seen lives shattered and dreams evaporated because of irresponsible actions in marriage and relationships like the aforementioned. It is cowardly to give into temptations of the flesh or the misguided comfort of another person when feeling despondent, unhappy or recovering from a broken heart. In those instances, one must have the courage to confront a partner and deal with issues directly, think about potential damages to one's family or take a little time to be alone and work on improving as a person so as to not go from one bad situation to another.

3) Bad Parenting

Over the past few years, the actions of some parents have left me baffled. I have seen parents act irresponsibly by:

A) Feeding a toddler potato chips and similar types of food for dinner

B) Putting their own careers ahead of their children - Parents who for financial reasons MUST work 12 hours a day to make ends meet for the family are not the subject in this case. I am a referring to parents who choose to work 12 or more hours daily and leave their children in the care of a babysitter. Why have children if you never see them?

C) Having affairs - Kids tend to grow up admiring and wanting to be like their parents. What is admirable about adultery and the disrespect of family that results from it?

D) Feeding children whenever it is convenient and with whatever food is available.

E) Having no discipline our boundaries with their children.

As a parent, I realize that raising a child can be difficult but I cannot respect those who do not put their children and family first and raise them in the best way they know how.

I met a precious toddler in Sweden that seems to be one of the unhappiest kids (in demeanour and actions) I have come across. It is not a coincidence that the parents are hardly around, don't feed the child properly and provide the child with sleep patterns that suit their lifestyle. When I tell people about the actions of these parents, they gasp in disbelief. How can parents be so cruel is another reaction! What is even more puzzling is that the couple are educated people who were raised fairly well.

There is no golden rule to raising kids properly but if a parent engages in reckless activity like above or puts career/money ahead of the family or simply doesn't put in the hard effort it takes to raise successful children, they are making an irresponsible mistake.

Responsible mistakes like handling a school situation in the wrong manner, talking to a child about life's temptations too lightly, punishing a child too harshly or not following up on something that your child asked you to do can always be accepted and improved upon in the future. Parents will make these and other types mistakes and that is okay as long as the effort is made daily to raise your child in a loving, disciplined and productive way.

4) Family Dysfunction ( My mother and her 2 sisters)

My mother and her two sisters avoided associating or communicating with one another for years. The reasons for them not talking were petty and not as important as the fact that they missed out on what could have been precious years of loving sisterhood.

I am glad to report that they have put aside their minor differences and are now sisters once again. They have experienced more happiness in the last two years than they did in the last twenty! My mother and aunts are interesting, fun and loving people so it warms my heart to see the sisters in sync with each other.

It is an irresponsible mistake to disregard family for petty and selfish reasons (i.e. jealousy) as not only do the adults miss out on special moments but they make it difficult or impossible for the children of those estranged to develop an strong bond with family. In addition, when the inevitable tough times touch our lives, there is typically no better comfort than the love of a supportive family. I realize that some family members are evil and never have the best interests of family in their heart and those types should be avoided at all costs. No family member is worth the time of day if they don't have warm and loving intentions in their soul.

5) Fight for your Career

I have counseled and talked with people who have been unjustly maligned at work including some that have eventually been fired simply because they were not liked or were a competitive threat to a colleague. In all of these situations (except one), the individuals walked away quietly without saying a word and had their careers pushed back or reputations damaged. In other words, they lacked the toughness to stand up to obvious and often unethical wrongdoing which is an irresponsible mistake.

One friend's story was hard to swallow as he spent five very good years at a Fortune 500 company. His reviews were stellar and he worked efficiently. Soon after, a new boss arrived and made the environment stressful despite my friend's good reputation and proven success. This made it almost impossible for him to succeed especially when the boss subtly encouraged him to quit. He was dumbfounded as he never experienced such a mean and competitive person. Instead of fighting for his good name and the results he had produced, he walked away. The boss's mission was accomplished.

What my friend could have done was talk with Human Resources or someone he trusted in the organization to at a minimum tell his side of the story so as to not have his previous five years go down the drain. He was afraid to do anything for fear of being labeled a complainer. His career was never at the same height again. He was irresponsible at a when he needed to be responsible as he had done nothing wrong to cause this unfair treatment.

The one who DID NOT walk away, fought similar circumstances and ended up saving his good name and continued to do well in his company although he did eventually leave to bigger and better opportunities. He was not afraid to speak up when his well earned success and reputation were at stake. Today, he has a wonderful job that may have been unavailable if he didn't fight to preserve his career.

The workplace is not an area for weak minded or thin skinned individuals. If you are wronged by someone unjustly, you should fight back because if you don't, it is you who will suffer the most.

Additional areas for responsible or irresponsible choices fall in categories such as:

-- Drugs - Nothing responsible results from this.

-- Drinking - In moderation is responsible but driving after drinking is irresponsible.

-- Theft - Grossly irresponsible and can land one in jail.

-- The Wrong Crowd - Whether a teenager or adult, letting friends into your life who do not have your best interests in mind is irresponsible.

-- Disrespecting Values Taught - If you are raised properly by good parents, it is irresponsible to not follow the teachings of those values.

-- Moving Abroad on Emotion - I have seen people move to Sweden (for love and other reasons) while never considering how it would be to live in a foreign county. It is irresponsible to not do your homework on a potential new culture if you want to make a productive life there.

-- Buying a house - As we see from the housing crises in the USA, many were irresponsible in purchasing homes they could not afford. To live above your means is irresponsible.

-- Financial Laziness - Many have good intentions when saving for a rainy day or retirement but often DO NOT watch those investments closely and consequently lose significant amounts of money. A good rule is to look at your financial investments at least once a week. I watch mine daily. It can take as little as 5 minutes.

-- A Lack of Common Sense - A friend was leaving a restaurant and rushing to his car. Instead of staying on the well lit main street, he decided to use an unknown and dark alley. He was robbed and beaten up but was not hurt too badly. Common sense is often adrift when people don't think or are rushed. Woman in particular must always be careful as many outside attacks or rapes occur when the victim is alone or in a dark area.

-- Repeating an Unproductive Pattern - If you are doing the same things over and over again whether it be love, work, friends, etc and your life is not progressing, it is irresponsible to not find a way to change your pattern. (Review my April article, "Is your Pattern working?")

-- Wasteful Relationships - It is irresponsible to waste one day in a relationship that is not working. An acquaintance in New York City had two long term boyfriends and both ended unfavorably. If she could turn back time, I wonder if she would have left either relationship earlier? Her prospects are now dwindling as she is single and approaching 40. Why do so many hang on to the comfort of a relationship when they know in their heart that the future holds zero promise for them? Not only is time wasted but you lose an invaluable opportunity to find someone who could actually make you happy.

It is particularly hard for our youth to be responsible as temptations come at them from all angles especially in an Internet world. That is why responsible adults must be diligent in teaching their own children properly as well as having a watchful eye on others even if it is just mentoring one misguided youngster. We must do our part to help our youth bloom into confident, giving and responsible adults.

The key with mistakes is to err on the side of responsibility and not irresponsibility. To do it well requires THINKING before any action and "Taking the emotion out of it" (See July article on this subject) with important decisions. It is crucial to take risks throughout life as it makes for a more well-rounded and interesting experience but to "role the dice" with our actions is irresponsible and leads most people down an unenviable road.

I have made my share of mistakes but the the overwhelming majority have been responsible. Since the age of 9 when I found my basketball talent, I did everything in my power to remain in a responsible atmosphere as I knew basketball could take me a long way! Thankfully, my mistakes were never a threat to derail my sport, career, family or life dreams. I have a wonderful life because of my wise actions.

Stay away from irresponsible mistakes or be prepared for consequences you may have never imagined.

If you embrace responsibility, there is little that will stand in your path to the life you desire.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

New York City in the early 1990's provide ample room for Irresponsible Mistakes. Fortutunately, Gswede (far right) stayed focused and remained responsible.

Sept 11, 2001 - Pain, Giving, Renewal

In the midst of beginning this article last week, I had a business trip outside of Stockholm. When I checked into the 300 room hotel, I was given room number 911 which at first felt a bit eery but I quickly realized it was the little push I needed. Inspiration happens when you least expect it and I felt that mini jolt! I finished my story (below) about one of America's darkest days later that evening.


(Sept 11, 2001 - My view from Brooklyn not long after the Twin Towers fell)

In the late afternoon of Sept 10, 2001, I was not far (financial district) from the World Trade Center (Twin Towers) attending a charity event for my former employer, a respected non-profit organization based in Virginia. After finishing, I called a cab to take me home. As I was waiting in the early evening, the sky became ominous and a downpour of rain began that was treacherous.

I don't think many remember this night because of what happened the next day but it was one of the most chilling few hours of rain and sky I have ever experienced. If you believe in signs, this could have been a sign of what was to occur in a little over 12 hours. Traffic was unbearable and the normal 20 minute cab ride took close to 2 hours. Although quite exhausted, I was happy to arrive at our Brooklyn apartment.

Sept 11, 2001 started as any other morning. My girlfriend (now wife), arrived at her work in midtown Manhattan around 8am. I was leisurely watching the Today morning show at home when it was interrupted by "breaking news". I, like millions of viewers were told that a small plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. Immediately, I thought "how strange" and didn't really think much of it even after seeing the hole in the tower which didn't appear that large as the shots were from a distance.

Not long after, I knew something terrible was happening when I saw on TV, a fireball explosion of immense intensity in the other tower. As we now know, that was the next airplane hitting the 2nd tower, a scene that was played over and over during the morning and is as horrific to watch now as it was then.

Sometime during the morning chaos, I made sure to contact my girlfriend and was relieved that she was okay. She wasn't able to get home until late that night (stayed with a close friend) as the subway system was shut down. I called my uncle and aunt who lived in Tri-beca (first plane flew low over their apartment) to find out how they were coping and they were rattled but fine.

I was preparing for a presentation about my charity that morning but it was evident that no work was to be done on this day. I sat glued to the TV, never expecting the horror that occurred later that morning. One Tower fell and the sadness in my heart for all those souls in the building was excruciating. I become choked up. Then the next tower fell, and that was the moment I knew America and our world would never be the same again.

Before the towers fell, my ex roommate who lived in Chicago at the time was visiting his office at 7 World Trade Center (the third building to collapse around 5pm). He escaped not long before the towers fell with many of his colleagues, but what he witnessed upon exiting changed his life forever. He saw over ten people jumping from the burning towers. He really hadn't intended to watch them but he admitted being mesmerized by what he was witnessing. He came over to our home a few days later to tell us all about it and he couldn't fight the tears. The subject came up on his visit to Stockholm in 2006, and once again he wasn't able to control the sadness and tears that he will most likely carry forever.

Around noon, I wanted to do my part to help on this unimaginable day. Not knowing what that would be, I strolled down to the Manhattan Bridge which was nearby. I could see thick smoke rising (picture above). Thousands of people were walking across the bridge to Brooklyn as this was the best way to get home as everything in Manhattan was shut down. The crowds walking across weren't that big but I knew they would increase rapidly.

Ten strangers (myself included) put our collective brains together and realized that on this gorgeous sunny day many of these tired people would need water as it was a long walk over the bridge and even longer for those coming from upper Manhattan. A few of us went to the local store to get cups while others went for the water. The store was reluctant to give us free cups (capitalism at its best) until we basically forced them to be a little compassionate if only for one day. We weren't taking NO for an answer.

We spent the afternoon handing water to people walking over the bridge. Most were very thankful and some seemed like it was life saving as they were so badly out of shape. Not much was said between the strangers or the people on the receiving end as the toll of this day had been so extremely exhausting on everyone. It felt good to be doing something for others on a day none of us would forget.

The following days seemed to be numb for everyone as we were inundated with coverage of Sept 11 and the personal stories attached to it. One comforting factor was the Mayor of New York City (NYC), Rudy Giuliani. Even though many were not happy with the pitbull manner in which he ran NYC, he was no less than brilliant in his handling of news conferences and simply comforting the millions of people in NYC. He was a huge reason the Big Apple was able to handle this tragedy with dignity and bounce back.

One way Giuliani helped to improve the psyche of New Yorkers was to urge people to get back to life as normal. He implored us to go to restaurants, plays, etc as a way to start the restoration and show the terrorists that life in NYC will go on. My girlfriend and I were inspired to do our part and within a week got tickets for the play Chicago. Tickets were half price and we had the best seats in the house! One of the cast members thanked the entire audience after the show in such a heartfelt way which was touching as you could tell she was appreciative of everyone coming out.

Exiting the show , I remember smelling the awful stench of the building's ashes/ disintegrated bodies even from 50 blocks away. It was a poignant reminder of what had happened to what I felt was and still is the best city in the world.

Two weeks after, I had a charity event near the wreckage which was terribly difficult to navigate to as the cleanup was still in its beginning. Rolling my bag along the street, I looked up and saw from 3 blocks away, the destruction remaining from the falling towers. It was an unreal site even from that distance. The jagged steel was an imposing and frightening picture to witness. I am happy I was blocks away as I cannot imagine what it would have been like to see it up close.

Every so often, I think of those who died in the buildings (NYC and the Pentagon) or in the air, were injured, or became sick after helping in the search and clean up of what came to be known as Ground Zero. We can also never forget the policeman, fireman, military personal, and volunteers who played a huge part in saving lives with their selfless and heroic efforts.

More heroism blossomed after I read a story about a Vice President (VP) in the second tower hit who helped to direct her firm's employees and visitors into the elevators to safety. That VP was my client and was instrumental in helping my non-profit become a preferred charity in their philanthropic efforts. She was a kind and personable woman and showed her loving nature when she put other's safety ahead of her own. After she helped her crowd to safety, she was planning to exit but the 2nd plane hit. She never made it out. I can only hope that I would have showed the same compassion if I had been in her place.

Many people were fortunate to be absent from their job on that fateful morning for a variety of reasons. One of those absentees was a member of my gym. He worked for the firm Cantor Fitzgerald which lost the majority (over 600) of their employees that day. He was playing in his weekly Tuesday morning basketball game which didn't end until 8am. He was on his way to work when the first plane hit. I wanted to ask him how he felt to be alive but the moment never felt right. Two of his colleagues (nice guys) who often played basketball with me at the gym were in the office that morning and never came home. Fortune smiles on some and frowns on others.

One disappointment from this day was the fact that I had friends who live in America outside of NYC who STILL have not asked me about that day even though they knew I was there. Some never called to see if I was okay! I actually got many more international inquiries about my well being. I found it strange and discomforting at the time but later realized that many either couldn't relate because they lived outside or really didn't care as they always saw NYC as a risky place where there is always a chance of terrible things happening.

The first two years after 9-11 were tough as it took some time for NYC to rise again and for people to get over the enormity of what had happened. I left NYC in 2004 and by that time, it was back in full bloom and better than ever. A big part of that feeling came from current Mayor Michael Bloomberg who came into power in 2002 and has proven to be a dedicated and successful Mayor. In the times I have returned in the last 4 years, the Big Apple was fabulous each and every time. The spirit of that great city has never been better.

One thing we have to remember is that this is not the end of American pain as there will be more terrorist acts in America's future. Let's hope it never gets worse than 2001 but we must always be ready and never get too complacent as a nation. We still have to live life, volunteer and embrace diversity which will help us continue to have fun, improve as individuals and learn about and care for different cultures.

Livet är bra (Life is good) as I say almost daily. Embrace life each and every day.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

Sept 11, 2001 - All afternoon, thousands walked across the Manhattan Bridge

A stranger who helped me pour and hand water to the crowd on 9-11.

Leaving the Manhattan Bridge after a long afternoon on Sept 11, 2001.

Palin SIZZLE , Obama drizzle

From the view of an independent American living abroad, the strategies of the USA presidential candidates couldn't be more different.

John McCain is a war hero, veteran of Washington and considers himself a Maverick. He seems willing to do (including distorted ads) whatever it takes to win. Barack Obama wants to bring "Change" to Washington, talks (not specifically) about the issues and prides himself on running a clean campaign. He does not seem willing to do whatever it takes to win which is evident by him NOT reacting angrily to McCain distortions. Obama and the Democrats run their share of distorted ads but don't do it as much and lack the biting tone and cleverness of the Republicans thus never resonating with the public as strongly.

Since McCain picked his VP, Sarah Palin, things have become a lot more interesting primarily because she has captivated America and the Obama SIZZLE has turned into the Obama drizzle. Even if McCain loses in November, you have to give him credit for running (at least so far), a focused and strategic campaign.

Here are a few reasons why:

--The "celebrity Paris Hilton" comparison ad was effective.

--Knocking Obama on his lack of experience has been effective.

--The recent "sex education" ad to kindergartners by the McCain camp is unsavory but it will change the minds of some voters. Again, effective.

--Most importantly, McCain's brilliant pick for VP, Sarah Palin, took his campaign from dull to sexy in an instant!. Whether you think she is qualified or appealing is irrelevant because people like her. Women seem to really like her. That is exactly what McCain was hoping for when he chose her. Palin has energized his campaign and taken headlines from Obama as the new FRESH FACE.

The 2 paragraphs below come from a Palin article written by Michael Goodwin of New York's Daily News:

It's very possible Palin will yet destruct by making some killer gaffe that shows she's not up to the job. Or maybe ABC will come up with a video of her talking in tongues or beating her children or something else that will make her an overnight disaster.

But just in case Santa Claus doesn't hand them the election, the Obama-bots ought to stop feeling sorry for themselves and start feeling the pain and hopes of ordinary Americans. Maybe then they'd understand the remarkable appeal of Sarah Palin. (full article can be found by clicking on link below)


I find myself reading and watching more McCain coverage and Palin is a big reason why. Sizzle in any form has always intrigued me and she has shown it to the world via extensive media coverage! I had some knowledge of her before she became famous as I read stories about her toughness and willingness to fight corruption in Alaska. At the time, I remember thinking this was a very unique woman.

Palin is a family woman who has a son in Iraq. She is pro-gun, anti-abortion and played basketball growing up. Plus she is good looking! She has many characteristics that appeal to the average American. Any talk of McCain being boring has been put to rest with this decision.

The McCain campaign's distorted advertising tactics and sound bites are working. He is doing what he has to do to win. In presidential politics, that fighting spirit is a must. Obama's campaign needs to dig deep for that spirit and at a minimum battle ferociously in their ads.

An American living in Sweden who supports Obama wrote this to me recently:

George: Exactly, that's what I've been saying. Dems have done that "be above the fray" crap for years and they are handed oven baked Ls (losses) every single time then complain they aren't in the White House. Like Bill Clinton said "this is a full contact sport" so you can either roll around on the ground, like soccer players, or hit hard.

Obama would be wise to heed Bill Clinton's advice.

Another American friend (living in NYC and Republican supporter) wrote these words:

McCain is running a very good campaign. He has been calling the shots all along and the Palin pick could turn our to be a genius move. I think Biden was an average choice and Barck should have had the guts to pick Hillary. He has to show that he can take these shots and still come back. It's a very interesting race.....

Unlike my friend, many thought Biden was a good pick before Palin burst onto the scene.

In 2000, Gore underestimated Bush. Who can ever forget the way he smirked condescendingly at Bush during one debate as if he were a professor listening to a hopeless student? Democrats lost.

Kerry was destroyed by the "Swift Boat" ad in 2004 and never responded strongly. A war hero made to look silly by effective yet distorted ads. Where was the soldier in Kerry when he needed to fight back? Democrats lost.

The Obama camp was caught off guard by Palin. His campaign manager upon first hearing of the pick immediately downplayed her accomplishments but then Obama gave her praise. That was thier first strategic blunder.

Arriana Huffington (an Obama supporter and popular blogger), wrote the following:

As a leader fighting for fundamental change in this country, Obama has to be willing to show us that kind of righteous anger. I don't know about you, but when I think about what George Bush has done to this country -- and what John McCain wants to keep doing -- I consider outrage the only rational and legitimate response. So why don't we see this outrage from Obama?

To fully become the transformational leader we need, Obama must demonstrate to the American people his capacity for indignation -- for the kind of ferocious passion that fueled King and Nelson Mandela. He has to fight fire with fire, and wield anger in the service of what right, true, and good. The fierce urgency of now demands nothing less. (The full article can be found on the link below.)


Obama should take control of HIS campaign and develop a fierce mentality because the best tactics of the McCain camp have yet to be seen. I have heard talk of an "October surprise". The Democrats and Obama should be ready for it in the same way they were unprepared for the Palin pick.

Obama needs to focus on McCain not Palin as she is not running for President. His silly "lipstick" comment forced him to explain what he meant after the media made it a big story. Instead of focusing on issues, he once again was put on the defensive and had to respond to what the McCain camp called a slight on Sarah Palin.

Obama can never forget the brilliant yet "down in the gutter", Willie Horten ad that the Sr. Bush campaign ran in 1988 that essentially crushed Michael Dukakis. Like Gore and Kerry, Dukakis tried to run a clean campaign and let a 17 point August lead evaporate and was soundly defeated.

Even though Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic nomination, her team was STRONG in their consistent pounding of Obama. Bill Clinton was especially tough on him and had a dirty tone when speaking of Obama on more than one occasion. The Clinton's have always battled effectively when negatively portrayed or someone was getting better headlines. Bill Clinton would have never won the presidency if he didn't respond FORCEFULLY to the smears and negative attacks.

Sadly, that is what one must do in general elections. I don't like it and wish all candidates would steer clear of the dirt but if you want to WIN in politics, you must fight in the same way you are being fought against.

If Obama loses, it will be because of his unwillingness to do "whatever it takes to win". McCain has already shown he is capable of going after the White House with a vengeance. I understand and applaud Obama for wanting to take the high road but in these times that bumpy road could lead to defeat.

Obama needs to get angry, fight back and put on the boxing gloves. McCain has been wearing his gloves for months!

Unfortunately for Obama, issues will not decide the next President of the United States, campaign strategy will. Team McCain is winning in that department. Obama is beginning to understand what he needs to do but it may be too little too late.

Most fights are uninteresting unless they are evenly matched. Many people I know want to see a fair fight. I hope we get the chance.

Control your Agenda (CYA) Team Obama or someone else will continue to.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

Tiger - No Athlete can Compare

Since Tiger Woods is injured and rehabilitating his surgically repaired knee, it's a good time to show the world why he has no equal in his sport compared to athletes in other sports.

I wrote an article (see below) in August, 2007 titled, " Tiger - No Athlete can Compare". My reason was the aforementioned paragraph along with wanting to educate people on what a dominant force Tiger Woods has become. In addition, most of us can learn and be inspired from his single minded, laser-like FOCUS. In my lifetime, I never thought I would see someone who wanted to win as much as Michael Jordan but Tiger is his equal in that regard.

The outstanding quality about Tiger is he is only concerned with RESULTS. Anything that gets in the way of results is pushed to the side as many reporters have found out. They want him to be Mr. Media but he only does interviews (except the PGA required ones) on his terms so as to limit distractions. You will never hear a word from his wife, caddie or people close to him because that would be a distraction. His agent at IMG occasionally makes comments as he is allowed to.

He competed in 2 of Golf's Major Championships after my article, The 2008 Masters (came in 2nd) and The 2008 US Open (won in an 18 hole playoff in dramatic fashion).

Tiger now has 14 Major Championships, 4 less than the long standing record.

He will be back in 2009 to continue the quest for "Best Golfer of All Time", which many (including me) consider him to be already.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

Tiger - No Athlete Can Compare (written August, 2007)

No one is more dominant in his or her sport.

Tiger Woods has inspired me from the moment I saw him play over a decade ago. His dedication, preparation, talent, focus and performance are as the poet John Keats says "A Thing of Beauty". I enjoy watching him just as much today as I did when I saw him annihilate the competition at the 1997 Masters.

In our generation, Tiger is the most dominant athlete in his sport, period. MAYBE ever.

Here's why:

  • Arnold Palmer is an icon and a big reason why golf is so popular. He won 7 Majors to Tiger's 13. If we compare Woods to Palmer, the latter becomes irrelevant.
  • Two of the best golfers of all time, Gary Player and Ben Hogan each won 9 Majors.
  • Tiger's contemporaries, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson have 9 Majors combined. They are in their prime or beyond. Tiger has not even reached his prime.
  • There are pro golfers that make a good living like Rory Sabbitini (who famously said that "Tiger looks as beatable as ever") that have won less than 5 PGA tournaments in their career. Tiger has 59 victories. After the comment, Rory is 0-2 in final rounds against Tiger including an 8 stroke thrashing the week before the PGA.
  • As much as I have enjoyed other greats like Jordan, Gretzky, Magic, Montana, Bonds, Brady, Federor, Bird, Borg, Jeter, Payton, McEnroe, Ali, etc- they don't even begin to compare in their sport.
  • Let's look at one of the greatest athletes of all time, Michael Jordan. Midway in his career, he had 3 championships. For someone in golf to compare, they would need about 4-5 Majors at the midpoint (No current golfers are close except Tiger who has blown that away). Even if you consider Jordan's entire career, Tiger is more dominant NOW in his sport. Jordan has 6 total championships. The equivalent in a golf career would be 8-9 Majors. 13 is Tiger's number.
  • No one has accomplished what Tiger has 1/3 or halfway into a career. Can you make a case for Roger Federor (11 tennis majors at 26)? Sure, but tennis is void of ANY serious contenders for Roger and the sport has sunk to pathetic levels of interest.
  • Tiger could play until he is 50 if Jack Nicklaus (never in shape or fit) was able to win his last Major, the Masters at age 46. Realistically, he might be only 1/3 into his career.
  • At age 35, Jack won his 13th Major. Tiger has done it at age 31
  • A CLOSER. This is his best characteristic. 13-0 when leading or sharing the lead in a Major tournament. Has there ever been a better finisher or "moment of truth" athlete?

For those of you that don't consider golf a sport, it sure helps to be IN SHAPE when there are 100-degree days like the ones in Oklahoma last weekend.

Here's a paragraph on Woods from Reuters (August 13 by Mark Lamport-Stokes):

The championship at Southern Hills featured some of the hottest conditions in major history, with temperatures reaching 102 degrees (39 Celsius) during the final round. The ability to maintain focus for all four days was paramount and Woods believes his renowned fitness has always given him an edge in golf's biggest events. "Physical fitness is always a huge advantage, especially when you play any sport and you have heat and anything that wears you down mentally and physically," he said."When I walked up 18, I felt the same way as I did going off the first tee. I felt great. Other guys may have gotten tired and you see their shoulders slumping and dragging a little bit."You should always train hard and bust your butt. That's what a sport is, (it) is to do that. And not everyone considers golf a sport and they don't treat it as such." Woods already has 10 more major titles than any of his contemporaries. The prospect of an improved, fitter Woods over the next seven years can only enhance his aura of dominance.

I thought a classic and crucial Tiger moment occurred at the 2007 PGA when he made the 25-foot birdie on the 8th hole that gave him a 5 shot lead at the time. Big moment, Big result. He has done it time after time. Without that shot, Els or Austin might have tied him as they were playing terrific golf. Tiger never gave them that chance. The great ones never do.

Jack Nicklaus always speaks fondly of Tiger and I admire that about him. He should know greatness in golf better than anyone. Tiger will easily break Jack's Major championship record of 18 as long as he stays healthy. Keep in mind, that Jack's most impressive record may be that he came in 2nd place in Majors a record 19 times!

My prediction is that Tiger will have won 26 Majors when he hangs up the clubs. Over 30 would not surprise me but life and kids could mellow his desire.

Finally, like yours truly...he is married to a Swedish woman. He even hits great shots off the course!

Next stop for Tiger, Masters 2008. The other golf pro's are already trembling.

Can't wait.


Gswede playing with clients on Madison Square Garden's court. Competing in an empty stadium is strange but thrilling especially being on the floor of the "World's Most Famous Arena".