Tim Tebow is likely most known as the vocal leader of the University of Florida Gators football team. Under his encouragement and astoundingly rugged play at quarterback, Tim led the Gators to a national championship in 2008, for which he was named the MVP. The next season with Tim at the helm was also immensely successful for the Gators. He was awarded one of college football’s highest honors by being named the winner of the 2007 Heisman Trophy.
Although Tim’s on the field ability was without question, he was perhaps even more known for his personal beliefs. Tim, raised by missionaries, is a committed Christian who not only has no problem sharing his faith, but welcomes any and every opportunity to do so. In fact, his habit of kneeling in honor of his Savior after a good play led to the creation of the verb “Tebowing.” In addition, Tim famously wore John 3:16 on his eye black during big games in college, which lead to record numbers of Google searches for what that piece of Scripture meant. The unabashed way in which Tim went about witnessing rubbed some the wrong way, which resulted in many either loving him or hating him, there wasn’t a lot of in between.
After college, Tim tried his hand at the NFL. His knack for the miraculous extended into his post-collegiate career when he led the Denver Broncos to an unlikely playoff win. Tim seemed to have a gift for making the unlikely and improbable a reality, by leading his team, almost by sheer will, to snatch victory out of the mouth of defeat. Unfortunately, there were many who didn’t like Tim and all he stood for in the NFL, and his career with the league fizzled out.
Tim Tebow didn’t stay down long, and made his way back onto a playing field, though differently shaped, this time as a baseball diamond. Today, he is playing in the minor leagues for the Rumble Ponies out of Binghamton, New York. He is working for a chance to move up and play for the New York Mets. He recently earned a spot in the Eastern League All-Star game.
Though some might assume Tim is after the fame and fortune surrounding professional sports, those who know him say nothing could be further from the truth. Tim’s “Field of Dreams,” as it were, is related to giving back and earning an audience with which he can share his ever present faith. He simply loves people and wants to give to as many as possible in as many ways as possible. Barry Svrluga, a Washington Post sports writer, shared an example of this he witnessed personally.
“When Tebow arrived, he embraced anyone who approached,” he said. “He called people by name. He took a picture with one kid, spun back and smiled for the next one.”
The team actually had to force Tim to stop visiting with fans as he would have went all day if necessary.
Despite all of this, it seems that Tim’s true ambition might have little to do with sports at all.
“If I’m not remembered for baseball, that’s OK,” Tim said. “If I’m not remembered for football, that’s OK, too. Actually, it’s fine if I’m not remembered at all. What I want is to serve God by helping people who are less fortunate. That’s what’s important, not playing a sport.” Tim gave this quote was given to People Magazine.
The Tim Tebow Foundation is just one way in which Tim gives back and puts his faith into action. The foundation sponsors an annual Night to Shine event that gives 90,000 girls and boys with disabilities a “prom night” they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to enjoy. Of course, Tim’s event is centered on God’s love.
While there are many athletes who exhibit amazing abilities on the field of play, there are very few with the moral fortitude of Tim Tebow. His “Field of Dream” experience might look different than that of many other athletes. However, the world would be a much better place if there were more athletes that followed in his footsteps.
~ 1776 Christian