Sick of Tim Tebow yet? No? Great! Please read on:
Sometimes it’s hard to know why people cling to something or someone. I often wonder what my sister sees, for example, in the men she chooses to date. My students, too, have me walking around in circles in my brain as to how or where they come up with their paper topics. The legalization of marijuana, sure, but beauty pageants in prison? Seriously?
I have friends who seem to wonder the same thing about all the Tebow lovers and/or appreciators out there. Because I got tired of defending the poor guy over and over again (even after his season finished), I figured I would list some of the many reasons Tebow has such a strong following, even if he isn’t necessarily the best quarterback around.
Location. First, and quite possibly the most obvious, this is the Gator Nation…and sometimes even the Gator World. (Question: How do you know Lauren Grant is in heaven in Italy? Answer: In addition to the culture, coffee, and beautiful people, she receives shouts of “Go Gators!” when she wears her Gator attire in the country shaped like a boot.) While Tebow is officially a Bronco now, he was, and in our minds, always will be, a Gator. So, we root for him. Wherever he is.
Loyalty. Along with residing in the Gator Nation, loyalty most certainly comes into play. Gator fans are fans in all kinds of weather. And so when the guy is making the critics groan, we stand by him. He’s done a lot for our program; it only makes sense we support him while he’s in the process of doing a lot for another team sporting good ol’ orange and blue.
Religion. A touchy subject, indeed. While you may or may not agree with Tebow’s preference in a higher power, it is quite refreshing to see a pro-athlete passionate about something other than himself. Some people think he’s insincere; however, those of us who love him know otherwise. Besides, why on earth would he leave himself open to such ridicule if he didn’t really believe The Big Guy Upstairs was worth thanking? (And I’m right there with him.)
Heart. The official dictionary definition of “heart” involves “a hollow pumpkin-like organ of blood circulation…” The kind the Tin Man didn’t officially have. Then there’s the other kind. You know, the combination of passion and boundless enthusiasm. The blood, sweat, and tears kind. The kind that has us naive, hopeful optimists trying just one more time, and the kind that inspires five year olds and seventy-five year olds to stand proudly, arm in arm, while singing “We are the boys” after the third quarter, even when the score is not quite where we all want it to be. (I’ve seen this firsthand. I know.) Timmy? He has both kinds. And with people like that, the rewards tend to be big, both in their partnerships and their paychecks.
Work Ethic. The man’s a bad ass. No doubt about it. Ever seen Tim Tebow: Everything in Between? Oh. My. God. Chills. Lots of them. Any man who puts that much into making himself a better man deserves a pat on the damn back. And any man who can pull a whole freaking truck up a hill is impressive. Let us be impressed, please.
Skills. He has them. While Tebow’s stats may not be stellar, the guy can play. He can run. He can jump. He. Can. Throw. Not to mention he handles himself well when it comes right down to it. Denver against Miami. Two touchdown passes in the final three minutes of the game with a sweet 2 point conversion. The Broncos win in overtime. Denver against Pittsburgh. Again OT. This time the Broncos have to win it with the new rules. One chance. One opportunity to score before the Steelers get the ball. And with Tebow, sometimes that’s all it takes. One pass to one player. This game it’s Tebow to Thomas. 11 seconds. 80 yards. Game over.
Hope. Tim Tebow is an underdog. Like it or not, he does not fit the mold of a stereotypical star NFL quarterback. He’s been scrutinized and criticized and overlooked. And yet, here he is, making a name for himself. Breaking records both on the field and in cyberspace. (Number one trending topic on Twitter? Um, yeah, I think people think he’s worth talking about.) Our culture, while certainly flawed, is an overall optimistic one filled with generous people. We like miracles. We like happy endings. We like stories where the hero, our underdog, overcomes all obstacles to rescue the princess (or his defense) and saves the day. What can we say? Maybe we’re just a bunch of hopeless romantics. Either way, Tebow’s story offers some good old fashioned hope and some freaking exciting football.
So all you haters out there, that’s fine. There’s enough of us Tebow lovers to keep each other warm at night. And don’t worry. We’ll still be here with open arms when you decide to change your mind.
*photo courtesy of thesuiteworld.com