My Sportsman: Tim Tebow
I am not here to debunk the very real phenomenon of Tebow Fatigue, or to deny that my Sportsman of the Year is one of the more overexposed athletes in recent college football history.
Nor will I argue that Florida quarterback
This nomination is pegged less to his production on the field than to his actions away from it. With an easy smile and a remarkably tireless, selfless example, Tebow has demonstrated to a generation of football fans that it's cool to be kind. The many virtuous acts of this son of Christian missionaries having been cited almost as frequently as the fact that, yes, he is saving himself for marriage, I will distill them here: He's made annual visits to the Philippines, where he was born, and where he works in his father's ministry, which has started thousands of churches and opened an orphanage. He's spent countless hours visiting prisons, schools, hospitals and at least one leper colony.
Since Tebow's arrival on campus, and in large part because of his service-intensive influence, Florida has launched a series of community-service initiatives. Even as the football program suffered an embarrassing string of arrests, the number of hours players devote to charitable causes spiked. As coach
It's not the player's fault that he inspires middle-aged men to deliver such breathless paeans as the one that gushed from the lips of Fox broadcaster
Such overwrought praise has invited a predictable (and sometimes droll) backlash, such
This is what happens when you've been around for so long that you won a Heisman
Just as the doubts about Florida and Tebow reached a crescendo, the Gators eviscerated Georgia, 41-17, on Oct. 31. Tebow looked like his old self in that game, throwing for two touchdowns, dashing for two more, in the process passing
Can the Gators get past Alabama in that BCS semifinal otherwise known as the SEC title game? We'll see. Regardless, the outcome of that clash will have no bearing on this celebration of a genuinely selfless player. Having seen so many young men used by this sport (often through their own fault, it's true), I am here to sing the praises of one who is using football, with a wide grin and without apology, as a means to a greater good.
If this leaves you slightly fatigued, that's your problem.