Frankly, it confuses us that anyone could watch this athlete, understand his back story, and come up with the conclusion that his is anything but an inspiring story. Most of the media doesn’t seem to get it. Which just goes to show you how out of touch most of the mainstream media is with mainstream America.
Eighty-five percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. So you’d think that Tebow giving praise to his “Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” very publicly after every game would be no big deal, not news, not a “man bites dog” story, but the opposite. Other football players at every level get on bended knee for a brief moment, bow their heads, cross themselves when they’ve scored a touchdown. Not all of them, of course, but enough to notice. Maybe Tebow, whose kneeling pose in prayer has become known as “Tebowing,” holds his prayer a little longer than the others. Or maybe it’s that he’s been so open about his faith, that when he points his finger to heaven reflecting the cheers and applause that shower down upon him when he scores up to a higher power, everyone knows exactly what the gesture means. Other athletes do it constantly. But maybe there’s some ambiguity in their gestures because they don’t talk about their faith as openly as Tebow does.
A little background on Tim Tebow, just in case you didn’t know (and you might not, because most of the media doesn’t focus on the back story):
• Tim was born to Baptist missionary parents in the Philippines.
• While she was pregnant with Tim, his mother, Pam, suffered a life-threatening infection. She went into a coma. She also suffered from dysentery. She was treated with an array of drugs as a result – drugs that shouldn’t be used on a pregnant woman, because of the danger to the fetus. She pulled through her illness, but doctors warned her to expect her baby to be stillborn. They said if Tim went to term and survived, that he could be severely disabled as a result of the drug treatments she received. They asked her to consider an abortion. Pam refused.
• In a high school game as a sophomore, Tebow hurt his right leg on a play in the first half of a game. His coach told him to toughen up, that it was probably just a bruise. Tebow continued to play and in the fourth quarter, ran for a score-tying 29-yard touchdown. After the game, x-rays showed a broken fibula. And not just a hairline fracture – a “jagged break of his lower leg,” as his coach described it. He didn’t play the rest of the year.
You’ve probably seen this drink commercial, “Appreciate That,” where Tebow outlines the things people have said he couldn’t do:
Overcoming adversity? Yeah, just a little. Inspirational? We think so.
We wanted to highlight this piece of commentary by the Miami Herald’s Linda Robertson: Inspirational or offensive, Tim Tebow’s no phony. Unfortunately, however, her column is no longer accessible through the Miami Herald website, so we’ve had to link to the only place on the web we’ve been able to find it. It’s poorly copied and pasted — there are no paragraphs and some sentences run into the next, but it’s still readable. We hope you enjoy it.
UPDATE, Jan. 15, 2012: And then there’s this piece from Bleacher Report after the Broncos’ divisional loss to the New England Patriots: Tim Tebow: Tebow’s Miraculous Season Inspired Many and Had Huge Impact.