Sunday, July 31, 2011

Catharsis in Canada--This is Why I am a Boy Scout

   Looking out over Quetico Provincial Park in the southwestern section of Ontario, I thought about how I had come so close to not being here. To not even having the chance to be here.
   Over the course of nine days and eight nights, I struck out with eight companions on a canoeing expedition that would traverse 140 kilometers and dozens of lakes. We fought strong winds, thick swarms of mosquitoes during the infamous nightly “happy hour”, and the occasional awesome-the-first-time-but-would-soon-be-a-royal-pain-in-the-ass beaver dam. It was one of the most incredible and satisfying experiences of my life, and if I was not a Boy Scout, I would have never gone through any of it.
   There you are, I guess. I always figured that everyone has some sort of extracurricular they would rather not share. Well there is mine. I am an honest-to-God, tighten-the-neckerchief, merit-badge-toting Boy Scout. You should feel honored; it is not something many people know about me.
   Any scout will tell you that what really motivates any of us is the camping. That is why I do it. There are other aspects of scouting that are certainly much less enjoyable (Three different citizenship merit badges? All required for Eagle Scout? I prefer throwing up in my own mouth), but for everything that will make you feel like the biggest goody-two-shoes you have ever known, there are twice the Canadas.
   One Canada made it all worth it. What made it so great was that at the end of it all, it did not feel like a scout-related trip at all. The summer camps of my youth were chock full of counselors, regulations, and more adult supervision than a daycare program. It was fun firing six .22 bullets into a grouping the size of a quarter, but it does not have the same effect when some sweaty, overweight geezer is barking at you to keep your eye protection tightened. Northern Tier (the official name of the canoeing program) was much different. We showed up at base camp, and within the hour we were introduced to our interpreter (a guide, basically. His name was Mike; he was Canadian; he was awesome), given our gear, and thrust into the map room. In the map room, we chose our route. We chose our route. Unlike other scouting programs, Northern Tier was entirely customizable. No one was telling us what we could and could not do, and it was refreshing to say the least.
   This freedom is what made Northern Tier the best scouting-related thing I have ever done, simply because it made me forget about being a Boy Scout. Maybe that is the key to having a good time at these things. If you forget that you are taking part in something that can chop down your own personal social totem pole, you are more likely to enjoy yourself.
   I almost quit the whole shebang, at the end of my sophomore year in high school. It was essentially a matter of continuing scouting until I reach Eagle (my project is in September) or cut my losses right there and leave the program. Looking back, I am not really sure what part of me had wanted to quit. Maybe it was the fact that I had missed something like three straight BCS Championships to go to the weekly meetings. Maybe it was the stress I was feeling at the time (fourth quarter of Biology Honors at school? Did I already use the throwing-up-in-my-mouth line?). Whatever it was, I decided at the end of the day that I would stick it out. It used to be because I did not want to disappoint anyone. I mean, God, my mother tells me all the time how much she is going to cry at my Eagle ceremony.
   But if there is anything about spending nine straight days in total isolation, it is that you have plenty of chances to think. So I guess if there was one thing I finally understood, it is that I was now doing this because I wanted to still have opportunities like the ones I had in Canada. Paddling at the bow of the canoe cutting through the rough swells of Pickerel Lake and watching a pair of beavers exploring the narrows of Quetico are things that make me wonder why I would have ever considered missing out on it all. I finally figured out that I was doing this for me. Northern tier had made it all worth it, and looking back on that fateful decision day, it was one of the best choices of my life. In the past week I was able to do things and see things that I am never going to forget, and it seems dumb that a little more than a year ago I had nearly blown it.
   I came to terms with myself in Canada, and I guess it is about time that I let all of you in on my whereabouts every Thursday night. This is where I go when I mean I say I am “camping with some friends” on weekends (that was the most common excuse, it made me look really social, so I stuck to it for a while), and all of those “meetings” I went to just made me sound official and professional. Neither of these excuses were lies either, I was camping with friends, and I was going to meetings. I guess it was pretty pathetic, but I was not accustomed to sharing my life over the Internet back then.
   I had time to think about a lot of things in Canada, and while the usual teenage subject matter was present (Yes surprise, surprise. When nine guys, all friends, are thrown together in the middle of nowhere, we do engage in conversation about girls. Who woulda thunk?), one that I kept coming back to was why I did scouting in the first place. Canada told me why: it was for the adventures that I could not find anywhere else.
   Just try not to talk about it with me too much at school, ok?

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Fond Farewell: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows--Part II Review

Note: This review assumes that you are knowledgeable in the Harry Potter universe (reading the books would put you in this category). Thus, several spoilers lie ahead. If you do not know what this movie is about, this is not the thing you should be reading. I am not here to catch you up on seven books worth of material. You’re a big kid, and you can do that on your own. At this point, if you are still clueless about Harry Potter, consider yourself at a disadvantage in terms of social well-being. That is all.

   It is precisely 3:03 on the morning of July 15. I came home from the midnight premiere of the final Harry Potter movie about 20 minutes ago. I snuck the computer into my room and I am now sacrificing all of my rights and privileges as a member of this household in order to bring you this review in a timely fashion. After all, this might be the one people actually read.
   The final Harry Potter movie brought with it a lot of anxiety on my part. I do not think I have ever wanted to love a movie as badly as this one. But at the end of a day, a good movie is good, and a bad movie is bad. So does my Harry Potter fandom make me automatically walk away from this movie with a perfect 10 in mind? Absolutely not, but it does not stop me from saying it is pretty darn good.
   Did you find relief in those words? I know I felt some relief when I was watching the movie. I had two demands from the filmmakers. First, stick to the source material. People love this series, obsess over this series, and wish they could take part in this series. You mess this up? This fan base will spare no one in their vengeance. Do it right the first time; we’ve been waiting years for this. Second, make the epic moments really epic. The final book features massive battles, intense one-on-one confrontations, and loads of action. Break out the big bucks and make this thing awesome.
   I can happily tell you that for the most part, my demands were met. Hallows II was very respectful of the story, and while obviously everything could not make its way into the two and a half hour slot, all the things that matter are present. The fights we have been waiting to see are all there, and there was not one moment where I was unsatisfied in terms of how a confrontation played out. Especially well-done were both Harry’s final battle with Voldemort and Neville Longbottom’s heroics with Gryffindor’s sword (Oh, I’m sorry, did you miss the spoiler warning I put up there in bold? Should have read the books, my unfortunate friend). There is one scene that was added in toward the end of the film that I found a little questionable, but as it has very little impact on the story, it is excusable. I should warn the non-readers among us; you may find the movie’s ending a little campy. Everyone else should not have a problem.
   If the adherence to the story saw a few hiccups, the epic feel made up for it. As I said before, all of the scenes you want to just have that “BAM!” factor totally bring it. The standouts I mentioned above are excellent one-on-ones, but the large-scale scenes are spectacular in their scope. At times Hallows II is like a magic-infused war movie. You have the full-on charges, the explosions, the mayhem, and the destruction. This is far and away the most action-oriented film in the series (as it should be), and the result is an absolute treat for viewers.
   So my big two concerns were abated, but everyone knows that it is the little things that turn a good movie into a great movie. Unfortunately, it is here where Hallows II falls just short. One, you need strong lead acting, and while I think Daniel Radcliffe (he plays Harry, in case you’re like me and are not as versed in pop culture) gives one of his better performances here, he still lacks emotion and dynamics in some pivotal scenes. Unfortunately his romantic counterpart, Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley, has the same problem, and the result is a disappointingly unbelievable couple. But on the other side of this, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have done nothing but improve over the years, and Ron and Hermione (plus their corresponding romantic tension) are all the more enjoyable to watch because of it.
   A few minor characters also steal the show, with the fan favorites seeming to be Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange and Alan Rickman as the shadowy Severus Snape. In reflection on the series as a whole, these two command every scene they are present in, and I honestly wish we could have seen more of them. Ralph Fiennes is also memorable as Lord Voldemort, and Hallows II takes him to multiple new levels (just wait until the scene with Draco Malfoy, it’s classic).
   I am really going to miss Harry. People are saying now that the can officially kiss their childhoods goodbye now that this movie is over, but no matter how long you cling to the epic tale of the Chosen One, you can be happy that he went out on a good note. I was not thrilled with a minor addition to the ending, and I would have liked to have seen a little more growth out of Dan, but even these complaints cannot hold the film back. Stunning action scenes both on a large and small scale, an excellent supporting cast, and an acceptable adherence to the world-famous books propel the final Harry Potter movie to what is arguably the top spot among their ranks. As a self-proclaimed movie critic, I can say that with all fairness Hallows II deserves an 8 out of 10. Fans of the series will no doubt be satisfied with how our hero went out, and that is all we can ask for. That alone, in some sets of eyes, might be reason for a perfect score.
   It’s been a fun ride Harry. We will never see anything like you ever again. The world stood captivated, and tonight you proved that you could repay our loyalty properly. Thanks for all that you have done for us; it certainly has been an experience that none of us will ever forget.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The College Quest--Part II: Kicking off with the University of Virginia

   Walking into college information sessions is always terrible unless you are the first kid in there. As soon as you go through the door you have all the rest of these students turning right around and sizing you up. I guess it works like the first episode of Survivor, when the strong look to root out the weak and establish who the real competition is. These people already are trying to step on your toes. What a nightmare.
   Going into University of Virginia’s Maury Hall, my dad and I grab seats toward the back (You think anyone wants to sit next to each other in these things? Wrong) and wait for the assistant Dean of Admissions to begin her presentation. She asks where everyone is from. Anyone from Virginia? Couple kids raise their hands. How about East of the Mississippi? A lot more hands. West of the Mississippi? I raise my hand, and would you believe it my dad and I are the only ones. Budda-bing budda-boom sucker. We proudly declare that we represent Arizona (I tried to avoid saying Scottsdale if I could help it, I wasn’t sure if it had a snobbish reputation back east too), and she seems impressed. Things are looking good.
   Sitting in the back proved to be a mistake, however, because all of the UVA students who were handing out literature (That’s what they all call it—literature—like they’re handing you some leather-bound book. You think your word choice is going to make or break my decision? Call it what it is, for crying out loud) missed us when we moved closer to the front so we could hear. It meant an extra trip for me later, and this trip would prove costly. You will see.
   The most obvious thing that I took away from the info-sesh (We’re going to have all sorts of lingo, just you wait. A couple weeks of this and it’s going to be like we’re texting) is that the admittance process for non-Virginians is noticeably more difficult than that of in-state residents. UVA is required to maintain a 70% majority of Virginians, and the result of this restriction is a feistier applicant pool for the rest of the country. To make matters worse, 66% of UVA’s applicants are out-of-state. A majority of kids are applying for a minority of spots. This equates to a committee that wants to see better test scores, better transcripts, and more impressive extra-curricular activities than usual.
   The tour of the campus followed the info-sesh, and we were lucky enough to have a good, animated guide (in this case a junior girl from Baltimore, we tried to go with the out-of-state kids if we could). You learn pretty quickly on these tours that it is really important to have the right guide. If the guide appears enthusiastic, you will be more inclined to enjoy the school. It is a small thing, but it is important.
   Virginia’s campus itself was, simply put, quite nice. The school was founded by Thomas Jefferson (they call him TJ), and you can bet that they throw that in your face. The main quad alone has three statues of the guy (the most sought-after dorms on campus are also found here). The campus admittedly declines in impressiveness as you go farther away from the center of things, however, as the vast lawns give way to more buildings. Everything is consistent with the traditional colonial brick with white trim, and the uniformity looks great. At the very least, it was a place one could be proud to attend.
   Our first stop was all about housing. There are three main residence halls at UVA, and our guide made it seem like there was not really any hierarchy between any of them. It made sense, because she would go on to say that on-campus housing is only required for freshmen. After their first year, only 50% of UVA students stay on campus. Personally, I was not too thrilled about this. Something I want in a college is a great sense of campus community, and if everyone is looking to abandon ship after only a year in, that is a little worrisome. We never saw the inside of a dorm, so unless these things are absolute trash and everyone is leaving for a reason, I would have liked to see a better demonstration of unity among the student body.
   One of the first things that had been brought up in the info-sesh was that UVA has a heavy emphasis on student-professor relationships (this was critical to TJ). Our guide was able to give us some hard numbers, and I have to admit that for a state school, the statistics were pretty impressive. Out of all classes, 95% are taught by a professor, and the remaining 5% are typically intro-level classes overseen by a TA. Larger classes (again, the introductory courses tended to be much larger, upwards of 200 students) are compensated with accompanying discussion sessions, and each of these would be no more than 25 students. So even if you take a lot of classes in the lecture halls, it is still possible to obtain a more intimate classroom setting with the discussion sections, and it was certainly refreshing to see a larger university taking that approach.
   A lot of schools like to use the phrase “work hard and play hard” to describe campus life, and UVA was no different. They offer over 700 different clubs and student organizations, far and away the largest total I saw on my trip. Many of these were geared toward community service and fundraising, and our tour guide shared numerous examples of students interacting with Charlottesville to raise money for this charity or that charity. UVA really felt like it flowed well with the surrounding community, rather than the whole “us and them” atmosphere. The town was full of Cavalier pride, and the students also seemed to harbor a deep respect toward where they lived.
   It is about time we talked about sports (our guide was a theater person, so some outside research was required here). The thing that jumped out the most to me was UVA’s student gym. The place was top-notch. It had great basketball courts, a vast array of equipment, a dining area, a lounge, and what was definitely the nicest pool I have ever seen. If there was ever a place where one wanted to stay active, it seemed like it was hard to go wrong here. Plenty of varsity and club sports are offered, and as someone who is looking to keep playing water polo (at a club level), going to an ACC school would be pretty awesome.
   When athletics were discussed on our tour, one underprepared mother asked what might have earned Dumbest Question of the Trip: “Is this a Division I school?” The guide handled it well, but I almost lost it. I will be honest, I did not do a whole lot of research prior to my tours, but that is about as basic as it can be. Remember, there are no stupid questions, only stupid people who ask questions. Please do not be a stupid person. My advice: save any questionable inquiries for after the tour; these guides always stick around for a few minutes afterward to help you.
What Jumped Out at UVA:
   Aside from exasperating potential peers and their parents, I came away from UVA impressed. I went in not knowing much about them except for their renowned English program, but several things jumped out at me while I was there. The campus was a great showcase for traditional architecture, and the historical influence was wonderfully apparent. The effort to establish relationships between students and professors was something that was reminiscent of a private school, and from an athletic standpoint, the ACC brings some exciting competition.
   While the school’s relationship with Charlottesville seemed tight, the one-and-done housing gave me reason to worry about the student body’s overall sense of community amongst themselves. Other schools that we saw viewed on-campus housing as a way to bring the students together, and a commuter school may not be exactly what I am looking for.
   No club water polo is offered, unfortunately, but the pristine athletic facilities gave me reason to believe that I could keep myself busy. The admissions process for out-of-staters may be more intense, but UVA claims to offer one of the best state-schools in the nation. For that, it is understandable to require more legwork to acceptance.
   A Founding Father spearheads all of their tradition and philosophy, and TJ’s influence definitely shows. This is a public university that offers an experience comparable to a private university, or even any of the Ivys. Student-professor interaction has just as much emphasis here as it does at any prestigious institution, and alongside a standout academic experience, you have a competitive athletic presence in the ACC. How many Ivys can offer that?
   History is what drives UVA, and it looks like it takes them as far as they need to go. I was skeptical going into the visit, but after I left I had a new school on my radar. They made their pitch, and despite a few minor issues I have, they sold me.

   When the tour began to wrap up, my dad went back to the parking lot to start the car so we could pull a Dukes of Hazzard and get out of there to be on time for our next tour. It was my job to finish the tour and grab all of the “literature” I had missed at the beginning. The guide let us go, and I followed her directions into the UVA Office of Admissions, where a table in the center had all of the pamphlets and flyers I could want. I grabbed all the papers I saw everyone else receive back at the info-sesh, and I was ready to leave when I saw a flyer about the college essay. I figured that it must have something useful to say, so I took one of those too. As I did, a gentleman behind me smirked, “I wouldn’t believe a word of it.”
   He had on one of those weird smiles that no one can ever read, but I figured he must be someone’s father from the tour and was just trying to be funny. “Yeah, I usually don’t. But it looks good if you take one, right?” I flashed him a smile and headed for the door. It was here that I received the knock-out punch.
   “Well, I wrote it.”
   I only had time to give him what was probably the fakest laugh I have ever supplied before turning back around and focusing on getting the hell out of there before I offended any more faculty members. I decided when I joined back up with my dad to let it sit for a while before I told him. This place was only our first stop after all, and I figured that it would be better if he did not know right then and there that I was already potentially screwing up my future.
   Maybe at William & Mary I would find a way to prevent messing up my application before I even apply.

Questions or additional comments about UVA? Share them in the comment section! I’m sitting on everything from hard numbers to more detailed information, so feel free.   

TJ is everywhere here, and it’s awesome. Yes, that is a Notre Dame Track shirt.

Their amphitheater. Makes the one in Senior Commons look like a joke, right?

A residence hall.

The English Department.

Their chapel (and before you freak out, they have no official religious affiliation).

   The nicest pool I have ever seen. They put it to good use too; the women’s swim team won the ACC Championship last year.

   My dad thought it would be a great idea here to call out, “Tyler!” and then the instant I look snap a picture. This happened several times. I was enjoying myself, contrary to how this looks.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The College Quest--Part I: Going where no one has gone before

   Sitting in West Main Restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, my father and I conceived an idea. A brilliant idea.  A terrible idea. My folks are always trying to find ways to boost my college application, and as I tried to distract myself with what was probably the best spinach-artichoke dip I had ever eaten, my dad gave his pitch to what he thought was application gold.
   Normally, when my parents begin talking about the future (a broad term for college, in this case), the family dinner turns into a one-man competitive eating competition as far as I am concerned. I figure the more my parents see me occupied with chewing, the fewer questions they will ask me about this school or that school. I hate “college-talk”. But now, the discussion has grown unavoidable, and I finally took matters into my own hands and dragged my father across the country to look at schools. It was on this trip that the above idea was born, and I have to hand it to Dad, because he actually had a few things to say that made me want to listen.
   Here it is: through my blog “According to Dazz”, I will share my entire college process with all of you. Everything from my search for schools, my applications, and my final decision will be made public. You will hear about schools I have seen, what I thought about them, what the applications are like, why I apply to the places I do, where I am accepted and where I am denied, and how I finally arrive at my final decision (maybe we can even go all LeBron James style on this one . . . or maybe not). Essentially, this is like proposing to someone on the Jumbotron. You can wind up looking really good, or really bad.
   One thing I need to say right now before we go on: this is in no way at all designed to be a giant frosted cupcake on the top of my college app. I will be giving my honest thoughts on these places with the full realization that anything I say can be used against me. That means if I did not like a certain aspect of University of Virginia or Vanderbilt, you will hear about it. We are talking about absolute transparency. This honesty could lead to a really impressed admissions director, or a really pissed off admissions director, but that is up to the schools at the end of the day. All I can control is giving you guys the most straightforward analysis that I can. So if this turns into that cupcake, fine. If it absolutely bombs, that is alright too, so long as all of you are reading the real deal.
   This is obviously a huge risk, but there is a reason for all of this. Remember that movie Armageddon with Bruce Willis? About how NASA recruited those untrained oil drillers to go into space and try to blow up that asteroid? The fuel behind the movie was that the plan was so crazy it just might work. The same goes for this series. I want to be able to put this blog on an application, and this might show schools originality, dedication, and guts. So is it self-serving? Of course it is. But the good part for you comes at the end when I receive my comeuppance from all the places I applied.
   In order for this series to be successful, you, the reader, need some information. Denial or acceptance does not mean anything if you do not know what kind of person is trying to be accepted in the first place. So, here is what you need to consider about this applicant when reading onward:

SAT Scores:
Critical Reading-680


   As far as a transcript goes, I am not going to sit here and list every class I have taken and my grades in each. I do not want to write all that out, and you do not want to read it, so how about an overview?
   If things go as planned at Notre Dame, I should graduate Summa Cum Laude, meaning I will have completed at least four AP classes and 10 additional honors classes. With my targeted schedule for next year taken into account, I will have the four APs as well as 11 honors. In terms of grades, as of this summer I have (out of 24 classes) five B/B+ scores, with the rest of my classes handing out an A-/A. My (estimated) total number of credits upon graduation will be 32.

GPA (as of July 2011):
Weighted: 4.13
Unweighted: 3.85

   Outside of school, I have been involved in numerous sports and other activities (this is already sounding like a canned college essay, excellent). I have ran track since sophomore year and I played football through my junior year (Some of you will know that “played” is a very loose term here, as I had a season-ending injury my sophomore year and a career-ending injury my junior year. But do colleges need to know that? Hell no!). I have been swimming in each offseason, and I recently started water polo this past winter. I have written for the NDP newspaper every year, and I started this blog this past summer. I recently became heavily involved in the Miracle League of Arizona for my community service, and I am (brace yourself) going to be an Eagle Scout come December. The gist of this whole thing is that I keep myself busy, and all of this will be articulated in greater detail when the application process begins to roll around.

   Here is how this is going to pan out over the next few weeks. Now that I have some visits under my belt, I will start to profile some schools. I will show you what I liked, what I was not so crazy about, all that good stuff. Eventually, you guys should be able to develop a pretty good understanding of what I am looking for in a college, as well as an understanding of the colleges themselves. Remember, you are receiving all the dirt as well as the gold. The stuff that usually comes in a folder marked ‘Confidential’? Consider yourself an insider. I will answer any questions, accept outside information I (will have definitely) missed out on, and take anyone’s suggestions on how this whole series can be made more informative or insightful.
   So there you go. Tell your friends, tell your family (Actually, you know what? You don’t have to tell your family, because this thing is a freaking breeding ground for “college-talk”. Seriously, that would be like the kiss of death), tell everyone who might be remotely interested in watching this poor soul make a potential fool of himself. This is a perspective that you cannot find in a book; it is something original, candid, and the way I see it, it could be pretty useful too. Talking about college is something I was never crazy about, but I figure if something is going to pull me away from food, I better make it worth my time.
   The bottle has been smashed, the anchors are away, and we just hit full sail. We aim for Charlottesville, Virginia, where UVA awaits a teenager’s thoughts. Cross your fingers for me, the waters might be rough ahead.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Not So Fast--McIlroy's good, but he ain't Tiger yet

  When Rory McIlroy walked off of Congressional’s 18th hole last Father’s Day, the comparisons to one of golf’s greatest players ever were in no short supply. His dominance reminded people of Tiger. His poise reminded people of Tiger. His resilience (and wow did NBC run that word into the freaking ground. They had an entire 10-minute blurb about the resilience McIlroy showed not only within the tournament, but all his life. They must have figured out that they had to spice up what was a yawner of a championship) reminded people of Tiger. The Monday following the tournament, columnists across the country rushed to elect McIlroy as golf’s next big thing, the next savior, the next Tiger. Am I the only one who thinks all of this is a little premature?
   Well first thing is first: McIlroy did play some incredible golf at this past U.S. Open. He had a record-breaking score with 16 under. He had a big, fat margin of victory with 8 strokes. He only three-putted once in the entire tournament, and that came with only two holes to go. McIlroy did not just win; he absolutely blew everyone else away. To draw comparisons to Tiger, the victory would have to be impressive, and it certainly was.
   But while the performance was indeed Tiger-esque, I am not ready to draw a line between Woods and McIlroy. First of all, Congressional may not be the right course to be host to “one of the toughest challenges in golf”. Sure, it may be one of the longer courses on the tour, but power is not an issue for any professional golfer. These guys are all hitting it 300 yards easy. What makes a tournament hard these days is an emphasis on accuracy and precision. Did you see those fairways at Congressional? I could have hit those things; they might as well be driving ranges for the pros. So while McIlroy played extremely well, it was not the most difficult course, and it will be interesting to see if he can keep it up when tougher courses come into play.
   Second of all, Tiger Woods is known for his clutch golfing ability. Remember “The Chip”? If you have a shot to your credit that stands as one of the defining approach shots in golf history, you can sign your name into legend right then and there. Tiger has made more putts and has hit more clutch, championship-sealing shots then probably anyone else who has ever played. McIlroy did not have to do that at this U.S. Open. That could be further evidence toward his “greatness” in some people’s eyes, but before any parallels can be drawn to Woods, the man from Northern Ireland has to produce when it counts. He melted down at the Masters back in April, and even when his substantial lead dwindled in that tournament and things got close, he still failed to turn it around and make the shots that mattered in order to scrape a win back together.
   Third of all, and perhaps most obvious, is McIlroy’s scarce amount of credentials when compared to Woods’. Some guy wins one major and all of a sudden everyone’s ready to crown him the reigning king of golf? Sure, maybe he has been hanging around these past couple tournaments, even before his win, but Phil Mickelson’s been hanging around for what feels like forever now, and he never received the kind of “Chosen One” hype that McIlroy seems to be receiving. Tiger, meanwhile, has 14 major titles (did I just hear the phrase “beast-mode engaged”?). Rory has a long way to go before we can have any Tiger Woods talks. When people try to compare LeBron James to Michael Jordan, people talk about the championships. When people talk about Dan Marino as compared to other great quarterbacks, people talk about the championships. Why should golf be any different? Tiger has the biggest wallet right now, end of story, and one solid round of golf should not have people jumping up and down in anticipation of the next big thing.
   Finally, and most significantly, Rory McIlroy has yet to impact golf the way Tiger Woods has (Okay, I know this would have to be said eventually, but can we forget about the sex for a second? You guys are like a bunch of teenage boys for crying out loud. I know all you guys have been thinking about this whole time is how at least McIlroy was not bone-headed enough to cheat on his wife. We are talking strictly golf here. Sorry, had to clear that up). When Tiger was in his prime, golf fans would turn on the television to watch him, and usually him alone. As sports people, I think we all appreciate it when someone shows a true mastery over their craft, and Tiger was pretty freaking good. I know that I for one watched golf to watch Woods, and when he was not involved, it just was not all that interesting. To be honest, I simply do not see us all rushing to our living rooms right now to see what kind of spectacle Rory McIlroy recently put on. Tiger changed golf in the sense that he made it more appealing to more people. He was popular, so his sport was in turn popular.
   After the fall of Tiger Woods, it seems like the world of golf is growing more and more desperate to find a replacement to one of the all-time greats. A few weeks ago, a young man from Northern Ireland showed glimmers of what could turn into long-term success, but that is all they are right now: just glimmers. Golf is going to find its hero one day, and whether that is McIlroy, someone else, or even Tiger back to redeem himself physically and socially, is still on the table. Another Tiger will come eventually, in one way or another, and while it may be unclear who will embody this prophetic “Second Coming”, one thing is certain: the world is going to be absolutely ready for them.