Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
A little story… I moved to Tennessee when I was twelve days shy of 21 years old, and enrolled at Lee University at 22. I moved there mere months after UT won the national title, so the whole state was painted in orange…well, even more than normal at least.
I didn’t grow up a college football fan. If a game was on Saturdays, Dad and I would watch, but it wasn’t appointment TV. Appointment TV was the Chicago Bears…and the Boston Celtics when Bird was around, but that’s another story for another day. I said to myself that I wouldn’t get myself into this SEC religion. I’m not getting into this SEC religion. I was adamant about this.
It didn’t work out that way. I got hooked just like everyone else.
For the first few years, it went just as scripted. I was a big Tennessee fan. Phil Fulmer had some really good teams in those years. They won six of eight against Alabama before Alabama dominated, and they were always in the conversation in the SEC. All that really stopped them was those Gators and Steve Spurrier. You know…you can’t spell Citrus without UT Spurrier. Same guy. I once had my media and rivalry created enemies. I once hated the Cardinals, I hated the Packers, I hated the Lakers.
And I did hate the Gators.
Then Tim Tebow showed up.
There has always been something about that guy that you couldn’t hate unless you tried (more on that in a moment). He had a certain leadership, a certain maturity, that you don’t get out of someone that age. He was incredibly likable, very nice to everyone, and always had a big heart. Being the son of missionaries, he learned to give back to the world from the start.
This didn’t mean he was weak. Oh no. On the field, few wanted to win more. Few were more motivating.
In this era, everyone is built like a wall…including some kickers. In that time, Tebow was a unicorn. 6’3″ 240 pounds. He had a good arm, and a lot of speed, but he ran defenders over like they weren’t even there, and that included linebackers. You didn’t see this at that time at all. Even with the size of athletes now, you still don’t see that much.
I couldn’t hate him. I still rooted for Tennessee, but I rooted for Tebow and Florida also. When they played each other, I was pretty neutral.
What changed me was the media, and it was the first time I hated the media with a burning fire.
Remember when I said you couldn’t hate Tebow unless you tried? They tried. They went out of their way to hate him. Some openly rooted for him to fail all through his career. Why? Because he was open about his relationship with God, and his prayer. It was a lesson of the hypocrisy that the media would show. I mean why hate the guy? He gave the fans what they wanted, he gave the media a story every week. He had a great attitude, he never hid from anyone.
You hate a guy like this because he exposes your flaws. You hate what he represents because you have wanted it to go away, but it will end your career if you go out and say something like that. Instead, you expose yourself as someone that thinks taking a knee is only half controversial…the half you don’t agree with.
We all know the rest of his career. He had a cup of coffee in the NFL, played baseball, and tried football one more time as a tight end. I won’t go into this because I have something else to write about that is more important.
When Tebow attempted to make it at tight end, I admit that I wasn’t going to be sad if and when he got cut. Mind you, if he made it, I’d cheer for him on Sundays. I just didn’t want him to be in sports anymore because he has bigger fish to fry now.
I have a saying that I bring out every once in a while. There are only three reasons to ever be a tough guy…protect yourself, protect your girl, and make money. Making money by using your body should die at 30. You need to spend the rest of your life using your mind to make a difference, be it small-scale or large-scale. Tebow raised funds for orphanages in the Philippines, raised money for a cancer center in Gainesville, has the Tim Tebow Foundation, built a hospital in the Philippines, and has an event called Night To Shine, a prom for those with special needs around the world.
Most of all, he’s working on a very important subject: human and sex trafficking.
Tebow and his foundation are partnering with organizations around the world to rescue trafficked women and children. He’s making speeches and helping raise millions of dollars to put an end to this. An estimated 40 million people around the world are bought and sold as slaves in the trafficking trade. It generates $150 billion worldwide. Seventy percent are female. This is a very important initiative to focus on for the rest of our days.
Tim doesn’t need sports anymore. In truth, he really doesn’t need to speak on ESPN anymore. He has business interests and investments that will keep him and his family wealthy for the rest of their natural lives.
This is important now. His hospitals and orphanages are important. Night to Shine is important.
Maybe he’ll get into politics, and maybe he won’t, but the world needs him for things of far more importance than our entertainment.
He’s still young enough to make a huge difference.Published in