Tim Tebow played his last season at Florida in 2009. Not since Bo Jackson, 24 years earlier, had I been so pleased to see an SEC player graduate. Tremendous athlete; wonderful young man; go forth; prosper. I am delighted your opportunities for continued excellence shall occur somewhere besides opposite Alabama. Good luck. Now beat it.
Tebow’s in the news right now because he’s gotten the nod as the starting quarterback for the Broncos. His first game out in that role he dug a deep hole, but then climbed out of it. He’s 1-0, but it’s ugly. So this has inflamed all of the usual can-he-make-it-in-the-NFL talk concerning his release, his drop-back ability, and so forth.
Fine. Fair. But he’s getting a different sort of attention, too.
If you know anything about Tebow besides that he’s a gifted athlete, you probably know that he’s an unapologetic Christian. However, he is outspoken only to the degree that he talks about it freely when asked. Mostly, he simply appears to live his faith to an admirable degree, of which most of us fall short. (Ever been to the Philippines to help poor children (three years)? I haven’t. Save yourself for marriage? I didn’t.) He is a young man who appears to be genuinely, sustainedly motivated to try to be the hands and feet of Christ.
And he’s hated for that.
I’ve been chewing on two pieces this week, both posted on Facebook where I could see them. First I read this one, and wasn’t sure what it was talking about. Though I pay more attention to the NFL than I have in some time, I’m still not a big fan/voracious reader on it, and hadn’t encountered any non-football anti-Tebow sentiment as this piece discussed. (I mean, there was the Super Bowl commercial, but I’m talking about sustained, standing around hating on the guy.) Then I saw this one.
Wow. How have we gotten here? Is it really as simple as Tebow makes us see our shortcomings in unusually clear focus, and that’s not pleasant, so screw him? Part of me fears that it is. Another part of me thinks there are folks who would delightedly associate sick freaks like Westboro Baptist with Christianity in an effort to discredit it, and Tebow is an overwhelmingly positive witness for Christ, so he must be denigrated. (I kind of wonder whether those sentiments aren’t two sides of the same thing. Might be another post coming on that sometime.)
Have we really come to a place where we have so obvious a hero for our young people—indeed, for any of us—and he must be trashed and dismissed so we can get back to discussing the finer points of Lindsay Lohan’s probation?