Many in the American media have strange values when it comes to covering athletes. The bad guys seem to get the positive press — they’re the cool kids — while so often the good guys are persecuted for being … well, good.
Tim Tebow — homeschooled student, Heisman Trophy winner, Denver Broncos quarterback — has proven to be a positive role model for our children, one of the good guys who actually understands that the world doesn’t revolve around him. He is a public figure who shares his good fortune, reaches out to those who are hurting, and retains his down-to-earth personality.
ESPN reporter Rick Reilly, who has been voted National Sportswriter of the Year eleven times so he’s been around the sports block a time or two, took a closer look at this unlikely hero and was surprised to find someone to admire, as he declared by simply stating, “I believe in Tim Tebow” and noting :
I’ve come to believe in Tim Tebow for what he does off a football field, which is represent the best parts of us, the parts I want to be and so rarely am.
Who among us is this selfless?
Who, indeed? What makes this more amazing is Tebow’s youthful age (23), and his hero status in the NFL.
Ridiculed in the media for dropping to one knee on the football field — something that has been done for years by other players — and by some for being a nice person, Tebow represents the best of humanity. His Christian upbringing by missionary parents laid a firm foundation for this young man who doesn’t just talk the talk … he absolutely, 100% walks the walk.
Sharing his good character along with his worldly goods, Tebow reaches out a hand to those less fortunate in a way that shows true concern and caring. Riley talked with some who have benefited from Tebow’s touch and they responded that he had offered them hope for the future, happiness for the present, and made them believers in themselves and, perhaps, renewed belief in humankind.
Tebow hosts them for home and away games, making it a point to visit with them before the game. Didn’t he find that distracting, asked Riley? Tebow’s answer showed insight into the unselfish person that he is:
“Just the opposite,” Tebow says. “It’s by far the best thing I do to get myself ready. Here you are, about to play a game that the world says is the most important thing in the world. Win and they praise you. Lose and they crush you. And here I have a chance to talk to the coolest, most courageous people. It puts it all into perspective. The game doesn’t really matter. I mean, I’ll give 100 percent of my heart to win it, but in the end, the thing I most want to do is not win championships or make a lot of money, it’s to invest in people’s lives, to make a difference.”
Like I said … a guy who doesn’t allow himself to be the center of the universe. Why, heck … he made a believer of a cynical, crusty, long-time sports writer who tried his best to find a crack in Tebow’s persona and finally stopped trying. Riley conceded:
I’ve given up giving up on him. I’m a 100 percent believer. Not in his arm. Not in his skills. I believe in his heart, his there-will-definitely-be-a-pony-under-the-tree optimism, the way his love pours into people, right up to their eyeballs, until they believe they can master the hopeless comeback, too.
Does Tim Tebow deserve the good guy image? In a nutshell, yes … and you know what? I believe in Tim Tebow, too.
Update: Bearing Drift colleague Ken Falkenstein also believes in Tebow as he wrote in earlier this month in his BD post, Why This Jew Believes in Tim Tebow.
Cross-posted at LynnRMitchell.com