Friday, December 11, 2009

I consider Bryant Gumbel to be the gold standard in all things journalism. He's written about sports, he's done the Today show(back when it was a credible news entity, and not focused on interviewing Tiger Woods mistresses), he's covered collegiate and professional sports, he's had his own shows on both network and cable television, and he's one of the best interviewers I've ever had the pleasure of watching. His detractors will look to his personal life, and judge him that way, but I don't do that, because I damn sure don't want any one's hands in the cookie jar of my life. That's a no win situation.

Recently Mr. Gumbel came out and announced that he had surgery to remove a tumor near his lung, but he was doing "fine for now". But hearing that story made me want to search the Internet for all things Gumbel and in the process I found this brilliantly written piece on Gumbel. It originally ran in Sports Illustrated back in September of 1988, and it was written by Rick Reilly (now of ESPN). When the article was first written, it was considered to be a highly controversial and unflattering look at Gumbel, who at that time was at the very top of his journalistic game. But when I read the article, I found that he has some(and only some) personality similarities to me that I appreciate. Some of his behavior is harsh, but it is part of what makes him great.

But there was one paragraph I read in that article about Gumbel that I think sheds some light as to why Tiger Woods got married so early.

Gumbel may have even married to please his father. June Baranco, a student at LSU who would later become a Delta stewardess, came through Chicago to visit a friend for a few days in 1968. On one of those days, Gumbel's dad ended up taking June on a tour of Chicago. Richard liked her. In fact, Bryant told McCall's, " the very beginning he thought more of her than I did. But that fact was very important to me." They were married in 1973.

I don't want to delve to deeply into the Tiger situation, but I still think people underestimate how close he was with his father. His father was very hard on him, and Tiger was constantly trying to show his father that he was indeed worthy of his praise and approval. When you combine that with that fact that Tiger's dad was sick the last few years of his life, I really think Tiger wanted his father to see him married before he died. I'm not saying he wasn't in love with Elin, and I'm not saying that justifies his current behavior. This is just an hypothesis that I took a roundabout way of explaining..kind of

But again, read this article on Gumbel. It is a brilliant journalistic piece.

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