Recently, a hot topic on the web and in sports has been about Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow. The buzz about him and whether or not he’s the quarterback of the Broncos’ future has been debated endlessly. While Skip Bayless, fellow bloggers, and other sports lovers debate, I’ve been wondering about one question.
Note: Please do not take Tebow’s on field record (5-1) into the debate, as I want to focus on off the field.
Who is the so-called “ultimate role model” of sports? Over the past 15 years, there have been very few who have been successful in sport as well as off the field/pitch/ice/etc. People that come to mind as role models are Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods (before the scandal), Roger Federer, and now Tim Tebow.
Since after all, these are sports we’re talking about, allegiances come into play, and Red Sox fans say they’ll never consider Derek Jeter to be their idol. I understand that, but we really have to look at off-field performance, not on-field performance. Have these athletes given anything to charity? What have they done to build their reputation? What have they done with fans and general people that have increased their fan base? If you don’t have an answer for any of those questions about any particular sports figure, I wouldn’t consider them an icon.
For many of us, who aren’t into sports or think about things other than sports often (believe me, for the sports obsessed ones, it’s possible), our role models are our parents, a teacher, someone who had a profound effect on your childhood, or a successful person today. For me, I admire the late Steve Jobs for all he did at his company. Sure, he didn’t give as much money to charity as rival Bill Gates, but think about how much he gave the world. Also, we admire people for being successful or for being good at whatever they do, whether it be hitting a ball, making computers, or singing your favorite songs.
Fandom isn’t the only thing that comes into play when we choose our sports icon. There’s also their success in their sport. Roger Federer, who I wrote about in my last article, is arguably the greatest male tennis player to ever walk the earth. Tiger Woods has made billions of dollars due to his skills as a golfer. Before you get all on him, keep reading.
Federer is also a charitable man and knows how to make fans happy. He’s always participating in charity events and has even started certain events such as the “Hit for Haiti”, which was a charity tennis event with other tennis players, which was all for support for the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010.
Tiger Woods has his own foundation, and despite the mistakes he’s made in the recent few years, he’s done things for his fans and people in need for years. I’m not completely in support of Tiger, he’s done many awful things, but I think now he’s regretting it. His game is coming back, and I think he’s realizing all the bad things he’s done.
We shouldn’t all hate Tiger anymore. We all make mistakes, whether they be small ones, or large ones. Tiger’s mistakes have to hit the ’10’ marker on a scale of 1 to 10. Cheating on your wife with small kids? Inexcusable and completely out of line. But can Tiger redeem himself? Sure. We all can. It happens in sports, while it’s a much, much lower scale, but when you miss a jump shot, but then get the ball back your next possession, and drain a jumper, you get some sort of redemption.
Because of his mistakes, Tiger’s game has struggled immensely. He’s blamed it on his swing, his swing coach, his caddie, his coach, and basically everything else possible. The one to blame was himself. It’s not his arms, legs, and everything involved in swinging a club to blame; it was his mind. He just wasn’t in it. I’m saying this from faraway, and I can’t be certain, but I don’t think he was enjoying playing. Taking a break was exactly what he needed. I’m rooting for him to win the Chevron World Challenge, which coincidentally benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. He’s one stroke back of Zach Johnson heading into the final round after a third round 73. I’m hoping he wins for the first time in more than two years, and here’s why.
We all have the right to be forgiven. Athletes aren’t an exception. We’ve seen many scandals in college sports, from Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, and Bernie Fine at Syracuse. As bad as those scandals and the details may be, wait for it, but they can be forgiven. We all can.
It’ll take a lot of effort by the guilty ones, but it can be done. We can all be forgiven by other people. Already, Tiger’s been forgiven by some people. I haven’t fully forgiven him, but if he shows that he’s trying to revive his shattered image, we’ll have no choice but to support him, really.
Which brings me to Tim Tebow. He’s one of the most controversial figures on the field, because of the amount of strong critics versus the amount of strong supporters. He has flaws, but as I’ve said, we all do. He throws from too low, has too low of a completion percentage, and isn’t a typical NFL quarterback. He’s a winner though, but that’s an argument for another day. That’s just my opinion.
Off the field though, I find it ridiculous the lack of respect he gets. Some people agree with me, like The Sports Guru (not the Sportz Guru). Others don’t. People find his belief in God and his Christian faith a joke and something to mock him. Even his habit of praying on the field has become a cultural phenomenon, and a joke. It’s even been dubbed “Tebowing”. Other athletes are doing it. If you search “Tebowing” on Google, you’ll get tons of pictures of people mocking him. Tim Tebow is not hiding the fact that he’s a religious man, and he shouldn’t. I know that religion is a sensitive topic, but why should the man be mocked for showing his beliefs? He’s not encouraging it or anything, he just believes in God a lot and wants to show his beliefs.
I think we all should admire Tim Tebow, doesn’t matter what you think about his beliefs. He’s a charitable man who has his principles straight at a very young age. He is a knowledgable man who could easily be in a different profession, but chose the brutal game of football. We all can learn a lot from being Tim Tebow and how to respond to the harsh critics on and off the field. I think right now, Tim Tebow is the athlete we should admire the most.