There's a lesson to be learned in the Tiger Woods story. And the lesson is even bigger than the legend.
This past week, Woods came close to embarrassing himself in the final major golf tournament of the year. Not only did Woods fail once again to win a golf tournament, he played so poorly he was eliminated from the final two rounds of the tournament.
Woods clearly was once the premiere golfer perhaps in the history of the game. His skin color, his flamboyant way of winning and his absolute dominance of the sports were unparalleled.
But by now, we all know the story unraveled in spectacular fashion. Drama, injury, more drama and then steep decline.
His story is similar to thousands of smaller dramas that play out every day in American households.
His however played out on an international stage. It was and remains painful to watch.
Granted, it's hard to generate great sympathy for his troubles when he still dominates the money list of top professional athletes.
He could - and very well may - walk away from the public spotlight today and live a life of luxury that would be the envy of virtually everyone.
But long ago, Tiger's story was no longer about money. It was about his legacy and the remarkable way he changed a centuries-old sport enjoyed by millions across the globe.
But alas, it will never, ever be the same.
I don't know enough about golf to form a strong opinion on Tiger's woes. But like most of you, I can recognize a tragedy when I see one.
The age-old poem by Ernest Lawrence Thayer about the Mighty Casey seems like an appropriate backdrop to the Tiger Woods saga. Casey too was invincible and beloved. But more importantly, for his fans, their quiet lives were impacted by the accomplishments of their hero.
And when Casey failed - as we all will do - it was his followers who suffered the most.
Remember, there is no joy in Mudville, Mighty Casey has struck out.
I am no sports columnist. Just a fan. Like most, I had hoped and fully expected a different ending to the Tiger Woods story.
Sometimes when life throws you a lemon, you make lemonade. Other times, you're just stuck with a lemon.
The book of life turns to another page and your story is in the past.
Tiger Woods - through age and mistakes and injuries and more mistakes - should consider walking away from the game he saved.
Few things are worse than watching your hero fail miserably. When heroes become human - as they do - a shared joy in their legend slips away, never to return.
It could have been different. It should have been different.