February 6, 2010
Tebow's Super StoryBy Matt Spivey
Tim Tebow has earned the right to have his story heard in any venue.
He has won the Heisman trophy and two national championships, as well as an endless list of career awards and records. But all of that is meaningless compared to the young man Tim Tebow is underneath the pads.
Tebow is perhaps the most widely respected athlete of this generation, in any sport. Even his competitors have nothing but praise for him. In a world in which athletes cheat on their wives and get arrested on a fairly regular basis, Tebow's work ethic, morality, and inspiration to others is more than just a breath of fresh air. He is an unavoidable hurricane-force gale of all that an athlete should be.
If CBS wanted to run a thirty-second spot of Tim Tebow reading the Gainesville phone book, we should be happy to watch. If the Super Bowl decided to cancel the Who as the halftime act and instead had Tebow running a narrated slideshow of his own baby pictures, we should be happy to watch. Some people earn the right to have their voice, their life, and even their opinions on full display. Tim Tebow is one of those people.
He regularly visits with inmates at nearly a dozen prisons around Florida to give them brotherly support or spiritual guidance.
He has inspired a revival in community service at the University of Florida.
After growing up as the child of missionaries, he remains active in his work overseas despite the chaotic schedule that comes from being one of the most famous college students in the country. He works in churches and orphanages in the Philippines taking care of children, while many twenty-two-year-olds are pursuing drastically different interests.
Unlike most of our well-known athletes, who have illegitimate children from multiple women, Tebow has vowed publicly to wait for sex until marriage.
While most celebrities and athletes dream of hobnobbing with Hef at the Playboy mansion, Tebow refused to be included (despite Playboy's lobbying) in the magazine's famed All-America issue.
Without being overtly preachy, he wears Bible verses on his eye-black to remind himself how he should behave while competing against his opponents and how he should present himself to the millions watching on television.
His speech following a key loss in his junior year was made into a plaque that hangs at the football stadium. Not often does an athlete get to be honored eternally for his character and influence on his school while he is still playing. His comments were brief, acknowledging that sincerity is most effective when accompanied by simplicity and brevity. They were apologetic, recognizing that in his role as a leader, he had let some down. They were responsible, completely lacking any sense of assigning blame or claiming victimhood. And they were inspirational, declaring to all that his future efforts would be unparalleled, and he would guide others to accomplish greatness despite all odds. Imagine if our leaders spoke this way.
How many other celebrities or athletes can you name that think, act, speak, and live like this? Tebow's life is what we want for every life, if only given the opportunity to have a life in the first place.
Maybe if I heard some people on the pro-abortion side of the debate with this kind of résumé, I'd be more willing to listen.
So we could look at Tebow's commercial with the same cynical, snarky, victim-seeking perspective as The New Yorker did:
Or we could recognize that the advertisement is completely appropriate because it depicts a football player during a football event. What a weird idea!
Better yet, we could simply acknowledge that a family made a choice. And whether outsiders choose to believe that the Tebows' faith in God, their personal efforts, or just plain luck guided them, everything turned out pretty well. I think the Tebows probably know the real reason for their blessings. And there's nothing wrong with celebrating that.