Archive for the ‘Tim Tebow’ Category
Tim Tebow deserves praise today. Yesterday, he played a beautiful game of football, which I did not think was in the cards for him, against a superior team, and as a result scored the right to hear a million mea culpas. Today.
And TRC is not too proud to provide one. Nice work, Tim. Good game. Keep it up. I was rooting for you to beat the ultimate sports dickhead, Ben Roethsliberger, and am happy you did. Good luck against the Patriots. I know I created this image to highlight how Tom Brady is a far superior QB than you are, but if you put together another game like yesterday, well, you just might pull it off. Maybe it isn’t all belief and heart and trust in your personal lord and savior. Maybe you’re just a talented young football player. But even if it was just a fluke (which it seems likely not to have been), congratulations.
And if you continue to play like you did against the Steelers, maybe your identity as a football player will assert itself, and you can be taken more seriously for being a professional, and things like this won’t have to be written. (hint, how many yards did Tebow throw for yesterday? and what was his average yards/completion? and how bored/lacking faith in humanity is a God who puts such signs into a football game?) (I kid, I kid).
We’ve had fun with Mr. Tebow at TRC. He’s a fun public figure to engage with, because, well, he’s so public, so evangelical, so mediocre at his job, and so beloved. From the moment he was drafted higher than anyone expected, to the moment he starred in the Focus on the Family television ad at the Super Bowl, Tebow had blood boiling.
And it hasn’t stopped now that he is a starting QB and winning (most of) his games. If TRC thinks so little of Tim Tebow the footballer and evangelical spouter of Christian cliches during post-game interviews, then why is this man among our Best Things of 2011? Good question.
Because Tim Tebow, all by his lonesome, just by being extra-smiley and kind and overly enthusiastic in his heaven pointing and highly-public prayer oriented, causes (some) people to have serious conversations about the role of religion in popular society, to discuss the standards of journalism, to argue over culpability of religious beliefs, to question the motives of the uber-evangelical cultural forces in the United States. Regardless of where one comes out on any of these discussions, there is value in our country in just digging in to a lot of the murky American Life that seems every day second nature.
So, Tim Tebow is among our best things of the year. To illustrate, Tim Tebow managed in the last 24 hours to have this written in an article called Tebow’s Religion: Fair Game:
Tim Tebow became “compelling” because he became a character in the great national dumbshow that is our culture war. And we should be very clear about one thing — he wasn’t dragooned into this. Nobody drafted him. He walked into this role with his eyes open. Before he ever took a snap in the NFL, he appeared in an anti-choice television ad with his mother that was sponsored by Focus on the Family, an influential anti-choice, anti-gay-rights organization founded by the Rev. James Dobson. He knew what he was doing.
AND this, in an article called Tebow Sacks Socialism:
Everyone wants a piece of 24-year-old Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. Most people settle for a high-five or an autograph. Others ask him to surrender his values, like the young women who beg him for fan photos and then start stripping off their shirts—sending Tebow darting away.
Tebow has All-American character. He espouses capitalistic values that are foundational to America: Competitiveness, ownership, responsibility, hard work, optimism, faith and persistence.
That’s quite an accomplishment for 24-year old kid who is paid millions of dollars to be a professional ball-thrower.
A final example of why Tim Tebow deserves a spot in TRC’s Best Things list. In an email exchange I was involved in that began as a conversation about Tebow, I somehow eventually wrote the following, which sums up my feelings about just how dynamic a cultural place the whole damn Tebow Affair has taken:
I don’t want to write about Tim Tebow, because everyone is writing about Tim Tebow. But sometimes, there’s a reason everyone is doing something. It is just unavoidable.
This morning, I read an opinion piece in today’s Wall Street Journal called Tim Tebow: God’s Quarterback. It was written by Patton Dodd, who I have never heard of, but whose bio says he is “is the managing editor of the website Patheos and a former senior editor at Beliefnet. “
In his article, Mr. Dodd claims that the fever over Tim Tebow, especially on the part of his critics, comes from the fact that we think Tebow must be a hypocrite. That no one can be that nice, that good, that kind-hearted, that sincere, etc. Asks Dodd:
In the case of Mr. Tebow, what seems to fuel many of his fans—and to drive many of his critics crazy—is not so much his evangelical faith itself but the equanimity and generosity that his faith inspires in him. Can he really mean it when he says that football isn’t that important to him, that he cares more about transcendent things?
…(a long list of the good things Tebow has done)…
What we are far less sure how to do is to take seriously a public figure’s seemingly admirable character and professions of higher purpose. We don’t know how to trust goodness.
And who can blame us? We don’t want to be fooled again.
As one of the people that finds the Tebow Thing absolutely fascinating, tremendously infuriating, but inescapably attractive, I have to point out to Mr. Dodd: You are absolutely wrong. There are many, many reasons people like me find the Tebow Thing insane. But I don’t know anyone that thinks that Tim Tebow is not genuinely sincere, or is a hypocrite.
Tim Tebow’s actual belief and sincerity are not the point. They are, in fact, the LEAST interesting element of the whole Tebow Phenomenon. What really drives us mad? Evangelicals who write op-eds in national newspapers called “Tim Tebow: God’s Quarterback.” That’s why we are going crazy. Tim Tebow provides the most public, high-profile opportunity for proselytizing that has come along in a long time. And no one is missing the opportunity.
What drives us crazy is that national evangelical leaders like you, (and many others) take this opportunity to write about how we (Tebow doubters) cannot recognize what is good and are cynical about seeing people with good intentions. That Tebow should inspire us, like he has so many, that we are missing the point, that athlete after athlete is saved from the wreckage by their personal lord and savior. That with Tebow, there was no redemption, he was already there. That, as you say, I don’t know how to trust goodness.
These criticisms may be true. I don’t know. I tend to think that I have a good eye towards people who are making the world better, even if I don’t agree with their personal beliefs. Living well and loving others is the point, and if Tim Tebow does that through a wildly obnoxious public evangelical presence, that’s fine. I don’t share his belief, but that’s neither here nor there regarding whether he is living well.
It’s time for the Tebow Lovers to publicly recognize that the reason the Tebow Thing drives us bonkers is not Tim Tebow, it is you, and Mr. Dodd, and every other Tebow peddler in the media.
(and, maybe just a little, Tim Tebow).
**UPDATE: Now this is good coverage of Tim Tebow. And it’s even from the Wall Street Journal.
Sports is an unusual topic for TRC. Though I am a fan of my local sportsball teams and love soccer and watching Twins and Vikings games, I don’t generally give sports much serious thought. It doesn’t matter to me if my team wins five minutes after the match, and that’s about how it should be, I think.
But this is a sports post about that most internet-friendly athlete of the last two weeks. Tim Tebow. What is it about Tim Tebow?
Tebow is not the first outspoken evangelical Christian to make it in sports. He is not the first football player to point to the heaven’s to give thanks for God’s preference that he and not someone else should score a victory point. He is probably the first to star in a pro-life advertisement to run in the Super Bowl, but overall, no, Tebow is not actually that unique: Professional athlete, dating a womand who is perfectly beautiful in that famous person’s girlfriend way, Outspoken Christian, generally seems like a Good Enough Guy. So why does Tebow drive people (myself included) absolutely crazy? I see this picture, and it drives me up the wall. Why?
Tebow is simply fascinating.Tim Tebow fascinates me. His supporters fascinate me. His haters fascinate me. The people who write about him fascinate me. Apparently he was a superstar in college, I have heard. And he is a terrible NFL quarterback, it would seem. People love that he is terrible. People love that he was celebrated so highly in college, drafted in the first round, and might not be any good. Why?
Why does Tebow get the coverage he does? Here’s an article on Tebow as a Protestant Saint. Grantland, the website of excellent sports writing and boring “pop culture” writing, loves to write about Tebow. One thing they have written about him is this:
In broad strokes, it’s fair to say that how you feel about Tebow depends on how you feel about youth groups and Elisabeth Hasselbeck and, I don’t know, WWJD bracelets and raft retreats with a lot of bonfires and swaying. Other religious players are religious individuals; Tebow is a whole culture. It helps that, as an NFL player, he’s both nontraditional and kind of bad, which makes it easy to see his success as guided by a higher power — if a dude with that background and that throwing motion completes a touchdown pass, it almost has to be a miracle.
Tebow is that big of a deal. Tebow is synonymous with on the field prayer. Literally. The word Tebow has become a verb for bowing in prayer in random locations, like a football field. See: Tebowing.com.This has become popular enough that, after sacking Tebow in a game, the Lions’ Stephen Tulloch and Tony Scheffler partook in a bit of light-hearted Tebowing. This apparently caused such a stir that Tulloch took to twitter to clarify that he was not mocking god. For real.
One reason that helps to explan why Tebow drives me batty: It appears that Tebow’s evangelical proselytizing is the most succesful thing about Tebow. Tebow plays football, sure, but Tebow is a Man of Faith. It’s almost as though when discussing Tebow, one must continually use the proper noun Tebow rather than the pronoun shorthand. But what’s the difference with Tim Tebow? Why does enjoying Tim Tebow’s terrible performance on the field make so many people so happy? I don’t think anyone wishes any ill-will towards Tebow. I know I don’t. I think having Tebow succeed in the NFL, and be around for years would give another interesting bit of storyline–like professional wrestling, having the obnoxious character around is great for the plot.
And that’s why I think that Tebow rubs people the wrong way; by playing the good guy Tebow set himself apart as the bad guy. He already wrote the plot before he succeeded in any marginal way as a professional athlete. His strong-man-of-faith principles and devout belief are not problems, they are (for many) the reasons Tebow it to be respected and supported. But that has the potential of becoming the only Tim Tebow. If Tebow were just another athlete who turns out to be a terrible football player in the NFL, religious or not, well, people would forget about him. But now they won’t be able to: TebowMania was already written into the hearts and minds of the faithful by Tim Tebow himself, long before he succeeded, or failed, as a professional football player. And that is something his religion will never be able to overcome. Now let us all Tebow in prayer.