Seven-thirty on a Saturday morning and I’m more than a little aggravated that my plans to go to the golf show and act irresponsible all day have been cast aside in favor of replacing the water pump and belts on my truck. I was thinking about golf and crying gently to myself when an interesting hypothetical situation crossed my mind. I have no idea where this came from. I swear.
I imagined that I am the world’s greatest golfer, one of the richest, and most famous men alive. I spend my formative years traviling the globe and dominating not only my chosen endeavour, but also both domestic and foreign headlines. By my mid twenties, I can’t walk through a grocery store anywhere in the civilized world without being recognized. And not only by fans of my sport, but also by children and housewives. At twenty-five I am revered by many like a god. The experience is thrilling, the company I keep in this rarified celebrity is beyond my wildest dreams, and this life and the money that goes with it make every cocievable desire only fingertips away. I’m hanging out with the small handful of other men who enjoy the same worldwide notoriety as I do, and the ugly truth is living in this world of money and fame, the women and the parties are not far behind. People don’t have to like that fact, but I also assert that until those people have lived, there will be close to no amount of understanding the life that I lead.
Fast forward this life a few years and there are two gigantic changes. I’m married with the start of a family, amd my father is gone. My father was many things to me in my life, most importantly his recent role was to keep me humble. He knew that I was given too much too soon, he knew that I never lived out a child’s natural early years of being spoiled much less teenage years, or early adulthood years, and he also knew that I needed some help to keep from blowing it up. I had a beautiful wife, and with her a beautiful life, but I still had that “other” life waiting for me in London, Dubai, Australia, Tokyo, Cairo, and anywhere I went, all across the globe.
I did bad things. All of the time. I had a crazy case of the Disease of More*, and I couldn’t get enough. It was only a matter of time before all this life started wrecking mine, but, starting from my early teens, that was the only life ahead of me. By no means am I asserting that these circumstances FORCED me into my bad decisions, but being able to have anything that you want -beginning as a teenager- can push you down a perilous path.
Now all my disgressions are in the papers, my wife is distraught and disgraced, my family is completely dysfunctional, and there is no way that I can set foot on a golf course to try to escape for a while. I went to sex rehab, but its not really sex rehab, its lifestyle rehab. I need my family. I need my health. I owe those two things every ounce of my energy.
I am Lion Forest, and I messed up bad, but you all know that. What you don’t know is, that no matter how much I need to make it right with my family, my friends, my business relationships and my charitable foundations, what I don’t owe any of you is an explanation. I owe that to my wife.
*The Disease of More is from Pat Riley. I learned about via Bill Simmons’ The Book of Basketball. Its a ridiculously NBA-centric analogy, just trust me that it fits.