I am experiencing a virtual feast of college football today on television because it is New Year's Day. After experiencing some fairly severe withdrawal in the weeks after the completion of the season but before I was fully into Christmas activity...I'm feeling like a starving woman at a buffet. I've watched three games today with a fourth one on tap for later on tonight.
The last game will be the final college game for Tim Tebow. I have been a fan of his since his freshman year when I saw him play in concert with another quarterback who had the full time job. Tim could just run it in to the endzone and so they'd swap him in when they needed him. The Florida Gators won the National Championship that year.
I didn't really know that much about him at the time...I just remember thinking that he was one of those top tier players that I'd never forget...along the lines of Hershel Walker, Emmitt Smith, Bo Jackson, and Peyton Manning. There are others who have been wonderful...and I can remember them when I hear their names, but they don't hit the top layer for me. I feel the same way about Mark Ingram - and it's a good thing too with Tebow graduating and with Jill attending the University of Alabama and all.
Tim Tebow put his heart out and walked his talk. I'm sure he isn't perfect, but I think that he is too smart to dishonor God and his family by turning up in Playgirl, in a dating relationship with a skank, or doing a keg stand in Vegas. He might...it happens...but I somehow think that there are bigger plans for this young man than a worldly sellout for something temporal and cheap.
Some people have accused Tim of being too "in your face" with his faith and for wearing it too proudly. They laughed while he cried after losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. I didn't laugh. I respect the kid. I respect that his family has kept him grounded and that he isn't waiting on the world to hand him something. Rumor has it that he drives an old beater car. I kind of like that about him. Because when he actually does have money one day...he'll know what it was like on the other side. Plus, let's not forget that second National Championship and the Heisman Trophy win as a sophomore and the nominations his junior and senior years. That just doesn't happen in the real world...three nominations and a win? Awesome.
So, in about thirty minutes I will sit here and watch my "boy" Tebow play his last game. I will do so with the greatest respect for his God-given abilities and his consistency in being a force for good in this world. If everyone was less cynical and more like him, the world would be a far better place. He's a gifted football player, and I love that about him...but what speaks even more loudly to me is that a 22 year old kid has his priorities straight. He may play in the NFL or he may not...and it doesn't really matter either way. He'll be a winner in life by just being who he is for these points in time...and for that I am grateful as a fan old enough to be the boy's mama.
I am reminded tonight how fast it goes. How in two short years my daughter will (or better be) planning to graduate from college, and Brian will be on his first Christmas break as a freshman. The boys on the field tonight are the age of my oldest child or a year or two ahead. That thought alone puts it all in perspective for me when they make mistakes. They are kids. In the gazillion dollar enterprise that is college football...we forget that sometimes. Tim Tebow made it look easy.
It won't be easy to say goodbye. It is my hope that I'll just be watching him on Sunday afternoons instead. All I know is that whoever gets him...and I'm fairly convinced that at least one NFL team will be in love with his leadership ability...will be getting a treasure.
So, thanks Tim for being the class act that you always have been. I wish you a win tonight...and the best in life. You deserve it.