Game On!

Never underestimate the heart of a champion!
            —Coach Rudi Tomjanovich

Football, say  socionomists, is a bear market sport. It is violent, brutal, and provides emotional release from the tedium of hard times. OK, but I think it’s insanely fun all the time. The game is exciting and there are always cool stories about the people involved. For me, the coolest story in the NFL right now is the Tim Tebow phenomenon.

Tim is a fine young man and a terrific player who, during his career at the University of Florida, won the Heiseman trophy and led his team to two national championships. But, when he got to the NFL, the pundits and most pros insisted he was totally unsuited for professional football. They said his throwing motion was too slow, his accuracy was bad, he couldn’t read the defenses, and he couldn’t stand in the pocket during a play. “Not going to make it,” they pronounced.

Tim was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2010 draft. He sat on the bench for most of his rookie year, but was given the nod to start in the last two games after the team gave up on a losing season. His record was 1-1.

The 2011 season began with Tebow third on the team’s depth chart, much to the chagrin of the fans. Tim is immensely popular, but the team’s coach, John Fox, and general manager, John Elway, did not think he had the makings of a starter. Finally, after going 0-5 with starter Kyle Orton, and possibly just to show fans they were nuts to clamor for the kid, they traded Orton, and reluctantly gave Tim his chance to prove them wrong. Since starting, the “kid” is 5-1, and every week the talking heads have to explain why the Denver win was a fluke that won’t happen again, only to be wrong the following week. “Well, he wins,” they say, “but he wins ugly.”

Not so. Tim is a champion. He plays with great heart, and an indomitable will to win, and he has the charisma to inspire his team to do likewise.Watching both the offense and defense attacking opponents on every play with the same ferocity as the quarterback is downright beautiful.

Earlier this year, Tim published an autobiography titled Through My Eyes. Thinking a 23 year old had little to offer, I hadn’t planned to read it. But after watching him pull off a series of miracles over the last month, I downloaded the book to my Kindle and read it this week.

The book is an account of his upbringing by missionary parents, the environment that fostered his intensity and competitiveness, his playing career and his personal commitment to his religion. The latter has been somewhat offputting to many fans, given his inclination to put scripture on his eye black. Tim is committed, but one does not get the sense that he is self-righteous. Here is what one fan who read the book wrote:

Mile High Mommy

This review is from: Through My Eyes (Kindle Edition)

Reading this with my daughter has been a gift I’ll treasure forever. I hadn’t expected a young man to have much wisdom to share just being so young (and he addresses that nicely), but I have found more
than just the story enjoyable – the book has been a great conversation piece for me with my 10 year old daughter. I am grateful Tebow created this story for family and friends to share together. What a gift!

Example – the chapter about Tim’s mom’s pregnancy impressed me with the delicacy and dignity he (with Nathan Whitaker) uses to offer the story. Here, I had expected a more evangelical Tebow (which I would have been fine with), but it never got “preachy” – just inspiring and touching the heart deeply.

Generally, to me, Tebow seems to present his faith as HIS and absolutely the only right answer FOR HIM. He doesn’t express his faith as the only truth for everyone, but rather uses his platform to explain how valuable it has been to him personally. I didn’t get the feeling that he was holding himself up as the gold standard whatsoever (again, I might have been just fine with that, because he does seem to be a fine modern example of a young man dealing with fame and faith beautifully, and, besides, I couldn’t be offended because I happen to agree with him in this respect).

I am thrilled his story has been genuine, heartfelt and inspiring. And he
hasn’t really even lived but a small portion of his lifetime yet – so I can’t
wait for the sequel! 🙂

I hope that one leads to the greatest heights of his hopefully legendary
career. More importantly, a legendary LIFE 🙂

UPDATE: BOOK SIGNING, TATTERED COVER, DENVER 06-04-11 > What a class act this man is! Took my daughter and my neice to have their books signed. They both feel so blessed that they got to shake his hand as he looked sincerely into their eyes and told them it was HIS honor to meet THEM! OMG – to see a child’s heart touched (and eyes tear) from hearing such an inspiring remark from someone who is larger than life to them both. He treated them as if they were the only people there for that moment.

My neice leaves in 6 days to work at orphanages in Africa for 3 weeks and was overjoyed that I gave her Through My Eyes to read on her trip. She’s going to LOVE having this book with her – in her hands and in her heart as she works in Africa! GB2 to Mr. Tebow!

Here is my take: There is so much tawdriness and boorish behavior in the sports news today, it’s refreshing to have a quality young man making the headlines for consistently pulling off the impossible with class.

Cheers,

Rod

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