RagHag Diva

Dissecting all the weekly trash celebrity magazines so YOU don't have to!

Monday, February 13, 2006

RagHag Roundup Will Happen...

...on Tuesday.

But today, I have to tell you what I did on Friday, because it involved seeing REAL CELEBRITIES.

Some were more famous than others. But all were more famous than me.

So my friend works at the Tiger Woods Learning Center. It's part of Tiger's huge charity network, the Tiger Woods Foundation. So it's this huge after-school center for kids to pursue the careers of their dreams, whether it be golf, forensic science, creative writing, or avionics. Friday was the opening of the Center, and I was invited to attend.

So the whole Diva family sat in an open-air tent waiting for the speeches to begin, but really we were looking for celebrities. Mr. Diva saw Bill Walsh, some famous football coach. But since my rags don't include Sports Illustrated, I had no idea who he was.

So right before the speeches were supposed to start, they escorted the celebrities to the front of the tent. VIP seating at a ribbon cutting ceremonies.

Stedman Graham walked to the back of the tent, all cool-like. For those of you living under rocks, Stedman is the long-time gentleman friend of one Ms. Oprah Winfrey. Then Peter Gallagher of the O.C. entered the tent and took his place up front. You know him - Mr. Eyebrows of Sex, Lies and Videotape and While You Were Sleeping? Right behind him was Chris Tucker, the guy who's in the Rush Hour movies with Jackie Chan. Also in the clump of celebrities up front is one of my favorite guys from the shows Felicity and Alias: Greg Grunberg. He played Sean on Felicity and Eric on Alias.

Then the big guns were announced. First, Maria Shriver, First Lady of California. Then, the 42 President of the United States, President Bill Clinton! We all stood and cheered. And finally, the man whose name is on the building, Mr. Tiger Woods.

Maria Shriver gave a funny and unscripted speech about the conversation she had with Tiger's mother prior to entering the tent area. Maria said that she basically discovered that she was a terrible mother - and she probably should have done what Tiger's mom did with Tiger if she wanted to raise her kids up right. Tiger had to finish his homework before he played golf. If he was late getting home from somewhere, even just a minute, he was "going down", no matter what the excuse. She was strict, firm, and frightening. Which is why Tiger never messed up. Except once, when he was in junior high. His friend took him out of school without her knowledge. Tiger's mom got that kid's number, address, his parents names - she hunted them both down and took Tiger home, after giving that kid a talking to - and, of course, Tiger could never associate with that kid again. She don't play around.

Then, President Clinton spoke. After some jokes of being humbled beyond comprehension after playing a round of golf with Tiger yesterday, he spoke seriously of the generosity of Tiger Woods - the fact that he created this center when he was 30 rather than waiting until he was 60 speaks to his integrity and maturity. He spoke of public service by private citizens - and it really made me think about volunteering, and teaching Charlie from an early age that it's important to help people while expecting nothing in return, to give of your time and energy rather than just your cash. It was a wonderful speech.

Then Tiger spoke. He thanked his mom and dad, and it was evident that he loves and respects them both so much. He was so genuine. His father couldn't be there today because he's sick, which made Tiger choke up. But he spoke to his dad the night before who wanted to say one thing to everyone: thank you. Tiger said the center wasn't about him. It was about the kids. Again, it was a great, honest speech. None of the speakers spoke off of notes. They just talked to the crowd.

So the ribbon was cut and the socializing began. Turns out I'm not as brave as I thought I would be in the presence of celebrities. Sure, I can write snide comments about them in my sleep - it's my favorite thing to do, actually. But put me in a room with them and I become Mousy Marcie. I snuck in a picture of Stedman under the guise of taking a picture of my friend's wife, and then went looking for food.

So we stood in line for the buffet and all of the food was kid-friendly: mac and cheese, chicken fingers and ranch dressing, grilled cheese, chinese chicken salad. It was great. Baby D. and I sat down and just started eating when Mr. Diva spotted Bill Clinton. Baby Diva was right in the middle of lunch and covered with mac and cheese so I thought it was best to send Husband off to try to take a picture of his idol. Well, turns out that he actually met him. The President was shaking hands with guests and was moving into the VIP room, when he stopped, came back to the crowd, made eye contact with Mr. Diva, and shook his hand. Then, Mr. Diva said, "Mr. President" just like they do on West Wing. And just like that, he was gone.

Mr. Diva says his handshake was weaker than he expected. It was more of a touch than a shake.

Then, Carolyn Kepcher from The Apprentice walks by! Dude, she's tiny. Like a size 0. She was very pretty and gracious to people who spoke with her. I tried to sneak in a picture but couldn't do so inconspicuously.

We then saw Chris Tucker playing on the flight simulator with one of the students. He was very cool with the kids. My friend said that earlier, during President Clinton's private tour of the center with Tiger, one of the kids wanted to show Tiger the flight simulator software. Tiger thought they were on a tight schedule, and began to walk on. But the President stopped him, saying, "Now that's something I want to see." They sat with the kid while he showed them how it worked. It probably made that kid's life. President Clinton even mentioned the kid in his speech, commenting on how his hair was the most aero-dynamic style he's seen, so he would probably succeed in the field of avionics. There were no cameras during that tour. No reporters. Just Bill Clinton being Bill Clinton, and giving that kid a story that would be told again and again.

So it was cool. What did I learn from all of this? Well, celebrities get the best seats at any event they go to. They are often shorter than you think they are going to be. And this center is really the coolest thing I've seen in a while. Tiger kicks ass.


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