Savor the Good Moments While They Last

Two sports-releated news items interested me today and made me think of the precarious nature of success.  (1) Legendary athlete Tiger Woods announced on his blog that he would be taking an indefinite leave from professional golf to spend time trying to make things right with his family as more and more scandalous details continue to emerge about his infidelities.  (2) The New York Yankees did not tender a contract to Chien-Ming Wang, who only a few short years ago was considered the ace of their pitching staff.

The turmoil in Tiger Woods' life is self-inflicted, despite what some might say is media overkill in reporting the scandal. The downfall of Chien-Ming Wong, one of my favorite baseball players, is nothing more than bad luck, based on circumstances mostly out of his control.

It's amazing how quickly fortunes can change.  A month ago, the name "Tiger Woods" evoked thoughts of high achievement, a strong work ethic, greatness in his field, all the positive reactions that advertisers like Gatorade, American Express, Nike, Accenture, and others who paid lots of money to have Woods as their spokesperson would want.  Now, the mention of "Tiger Woods" makes people think of punchlines and tabloid headlines about strippers, porn stars, and prostitutes, about cheating on a beautiful wife and engaging in risky behavior without thought to how it could ruin your life.   

As much as we can argue that Tiger had the power to avoid all this negative strife that is now derailing his professional livelihood and personal relationships, Chien-Ming Wang is a perfect example of how the fates can play mayhem with your life even when you seem to be doing everything right.  Wang was the Yankees' winningest pitcher and at his relatively young age it seemed like he was only at the beginning of what would be a long and noteworthy career, possibly ranking him as one of the best in the storied history of the Bronx Bombers.  But an injury during an interleague game sustained while running the bases was the start of a quick and unbelievable decline.  Last season, which ended with the Yankees as World Champions, began with stunningly horrible performances by Wang as he tried to make his comeback.  The one-time stellar pitcher suddenly couldn't get anyone out and seemed like a man out of his league in professional baseball.

Now, by not offering a contract, the Yankees are basically giving up on Wang, showing no confidence that he can be a contributing factor on their team next year. 

How the mighty fall!

Can Tiger Woods put this nightmare behind him, return to golf, and continue to play his best in pursuit of a legacy as possibly the greatest golfer of all time, or have his stupid actions sabotaged all the promise of what until now had been a fairytale life?

Can Chien-Ming Wang manage to return to previous form and be a top pitcher again in Major League Baseball?  I heard that the Los Angeles Dodgers might be interested in giving him a chance.  Manager Joe Torre certainly knows how great Wang can be.  I'm rooting for him.  It would be a wonderful comeback story.

These two examples of sudden falls from pinnacles of success prove how important it is to savor the good times while they last, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  And if you are in the throes of horrible circumstances, you should also remember that just as quickly as things can go wrong, good fortune can return.  That's all the more reason to persevere rather than wallow in self pity.