By: Amy Lutz
To some, he’s a hero, a champion, a savior; whereas to others he’s an enigma, a fluke, or just simply lucky. He’s Tim Tebow and regardless of your stance, there’s no denying that Tebow fever has swept the nation. After the Denver Broncos starting quarterback Kyle Orton packed up his bags and took up the quarterback slot for the struggling Kansas City Chiefs, Tebow took the reins. Since then, the Broncos have gone 7-1 with Tebow at the helm, turning a 1-4 embarrassment into an 8-5 record. The Denver quarterback has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the fourth quarter multiple times over his victorious run. Tebow, with his lack of experience and disappointing first half performances, is perhaps the most unlikely of champions. Yet that certainly makes him all the more lovable.
Tim Tebow’s endearing nature transfers into life off the field as well. He doesn’t criticize his teammates; he encourages them when they make mistakes. Lost games (or, rather, game) and play failures are taken in stride. Additionally, the young quarterback is perhaps the most unabashed, passionate Christian in the public sphere today. When the Broncos appear to be on the edge of defeat, Tebow calmly sings hymns to fuel his spirit. At post-game press conferences, he always remembers to thank “Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior” and takes a knee and prays after touchdowns and before games in a practice that’s now mockingly known as “Tebowing.”
For some, Tim Tebow has become a symbol of inspiration; yet, for others, he’s no more than a target of mockery. Various football players, like Detroit’s Stephen Tulloch, have started “Tebowing,” not as a sign of worship, but as an insult. After Tulloch sacked Tebow in Denver’s only loss since the boy wonder has taken charge, the linebacker knelt down and “Tebowed,” “thanking God” that he had knocked his adversary to the ground. Many people outside the football world have taken part in the Tebow-bashing as well. The often-insufferable and former CNN host Bill Press claimed that Tebow is a “disgrace” and “embarrassment” and proclaimed that he should STFU about Jesus (for those of you who don’t know, I’ll leave it up to you to figure out what that stands for). Tebow is perpetually at odds with the nasty, below-the-belt criticism of his unwavering faith and unshakable spirit. However, this has yet to faze him. On the field, the Denver quarterback continues to rack up the wins. Off the field, he takes the verbal assaults in stride with courage and humility. Tebow is not one to lash out or complain. He has yet to provoke his aggressors with counter-insults or backtalk even though he would perhaps have every right to do so. He remains positive, even in the face of the nastiest verbal abuse. He doesn’t have to silence his critics in the arena of public discourse. He silences them on the football field. If Tebow continues to not only win games, but remain (at least on the surface) unaffected by crtical jabs, he’s be Tebowing all the way to the bank.
However, it is not Tebow’s throwing arm that wins games, it’s his unbreakable spirit and unquenchable passion for the football, God, and honestly, life. It is not only his faith in God that should be admired, but also his ability to stand in the face of brutal criticism and not only survive, but thrive. It is excruciatingly difficult to stand up to one bully or critic, but thousands? Seemingly impossible. Yet, Tim Tebow has made the impossible possible and provided a clear example of true heroism. True heroes are not determined by athletic prowess or electoral success. Rather, true heroism is propelled by rock solid convictions and unshakable character. Our real heroes are the ones who overcome, rise above, and persevere. This doesn’t always transfer into an external indicator of success like a winning record (although for Tebow, so far it has), but is evident in the internal made external personification of an unbreakable spirit. For Tim Tebow, this is ability to “turn the other cheek” to his critics and refuse to fight back with rhetorical jabs. His heroic leadership is the basis for Denver’s recent success. Organizations (in this case, the Denver Broncos) cannot succeed without a leader’s unshakable convictions and unbreakable spirits, for these are the foundation for progression. Without them, everything descends into chaos. Harry Truman perhaps spoke this most clearly when he said, “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” We have seen countless times of “no leadership” has characterized those in power or authority (cough Obama cough), but Tim Tebow is a stark example of the opposite template. If we had more leaders like Tim Tebow in Washington, perhaps they’d actually get something done.