Be honest with you right up front. I don’t give an infield fly if Tim Tebow makes it to the bigs.
I just love his quest — for himself, for all the little kids he mentors, for every one of us in the over-the-hill gang and for anyone who’s ever dreamed an impossible dream.
Cut from several National Football League teams after sporadic glories, Tebow said, “I’m blessed because of my faith, that I don’t have to worry about the future because I know who holds my future.”
Now, Heisman Trophy winner Tebow has set his sights on playing Major League Baseball. The Mets signed him, perhaps on a whim, and sent him down — way down — to the Columbia Fireflies, their Class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League.
There, in his first at-bat last week, Tebow cranked one over the left field fence for a two-run homer against the Augusta Greenjackets. That felt pretty good, even cross-country.
You may remember the 29-year-old as the home-schooled son of two Baptist missionaries in the Philippines. You may remember Tebow as the University of Florida quarterback who lead the team to two national championships.
You may even remember him in 2011 as a backup quarterback for the Denver Broncos, then leading them to a series of unlikely victories and the playoffs. Tebow didn’t perform a goofy dance or slam the ball down. He had the gall to kneel for a quick prayer of thanks. It was called Tebowing. He did it right in front of everyone. As if he wasn’t ashamed of his Christian faith.
That really annoyed some people. And it really inspired others, especially parents looking in vain for role models among today’s professional athletes to have their children cheer for.
You probably do not know much about Tebow’s tireless charity work. The Tim Tebow Foundation, which he founded even while in school, is a faith-based outreach program for children in need in both the United States and the Philippines. He raises money to grant the wishes of terminally-ill youngsters who want to spend time with him, stage prom nights for special needs kids, construct facilities for sick children and build playrooms in hospitals and orphanages, among other things.
South Carolina used to hate Tebow when he took the Gators there for an SEC game. Now, they love him, especially the Fireflies owner who can’t make Tebow T-shirts fast enough. No. 15 is bringing in new fans and they hope Tebow stays in town a long time, unlike most minor league prospects.
Sportswriters who couldn’t make it to first without wheezing are quick to dismiss Tebow’s MLB prospects. They’re not the only journalists who miss the point.
“At the end of the day,” says Tebow, “I know that’s not why I’m here…I want my life to be so much more than that. I want to be someone that was known for bringing faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”
That, Tebow adds, “is so much bigger than sports.”
So, quite honestly, is Tim Tebow.