Tebow - He's made unselfish kind of a cool thing


3 different excerpts about Tim Tebow and a question for each.

From Pat Forde of ESPN.com

"I've never seen anything like it," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "… He's made unselfish kind of a cool thing."

What makes Tebow unique in the 140-year history of this game is not just his unquenchable spirit. It's his generosity of spirit.

The numbers and awards are all impressive and voluminous, but they're not what have made the quarterback a historic figure in Florida and beyond. That's due to the winning attributes, the leadership qualities, the endless acts of charity performed off the field, the ability to graciously lead a heavily scrutinized life.


From S.L. PRICE of Sports Illustrated

Tebow decided in January to return to Florida for his senior season, and "the big reason is [that] I wanted to be with Coach Meyer another year," he says. "I wanted to be loyal to him, I wanted to finish strong for him."

Tebow told Meyer just that in his office the day he decided to come back, causing Meyer's eyes to fill and the two men to hug hard. Cynics will say this is because Meyer wants to win. But it's also because Tebow, combining smashmouth aggression with brains, is the player Meyer would have loved to have been. It's because Tebow, by marrying a charitable nature with an in-your-face streak, exemplifies better than anyone else Meyer knows how to be both a hard-ass and a softy. He has made Meyer more spiritual, less anxious, and, Shelley says, he's the one person alive who can ease the sting of a loss. "He just helps Urban feel better about everything," she continues. "Urban knows Tim's in control of that team. There's a comfort in that that Urban's never had before."


From MICHAEL DIROCCO of Sports - Jacksonville.com
Tim Tebow's Legacy: Away from football, Gators quarterback focuses on Christian faith, charity, mission work

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has one Heisman Trophy and might win another.He has four NCAA, eight Southeastern Conference records and 21 school records and will add to those totals by the end of the season.He led the Gators to the 2008 SEC and national titles, played a huge role in their SEC and national titles in 2006 and has the Gators poised to play for their third SEC and national title in four seasons.

Coaches and teammates rave about his leadership, competitiveness and passion.

There is no doubt that Tebow will be regarded as one of the greatest college football players of all time when his career ends in January. He leaves an on-field legacy that might never be approached.

What Tebow has done away from football in his four seasons at Florida, however, is just as significant. His mission and charity work, his Christian faith, his work with children and his ability to briefly touch a life yet leave a lasting impact also are a legacy that Tebow cherishes more — and one that will last beyond touchdowns and victories.

“In the annals of Doak Walker and other great college football players, Heisman-winning players, he stands out as having made his mark on the field, but off the field he continues to impact people,” said Tom Rogeberg, the executive vice president for communications and marketing for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “… He’s approachable by anyone: other athletes, young children, elderly grandparents, non-sports figures. He just gives them a great deal of attention [and] his time. What he has done with prisoners and what he has done with orphans and the hospital visits he makes, it is hard to imagine that anyone is like that.

“He’s an exemplary role model.”

Tebow’s work with his father’s association — the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association — is well-documented. He has been traveling with his family to the Philippines since he was a boy to spread the Gospel and help in the association’s orphanage.

He has preached in front of schoolchildren and entire villages. He assisted in medical care. He helped with the everyday chores and duties around the orphanage and villages.
In the U.S., Tebow has spoken in prisons and schools, to church and youth groups, at meetings and conferences. He talks of his faith and how it is such a big part of his identity and life.

Tebow does not hit people over the head with his message. He simply tells how his faith has inspired him. He hopes that, in turn, will inspire someone else, who will in turn inspire someone else …

“How you are going to influence someone is they see something in you that is different or seems special,” Tebow said. “They see something in you that they think, 'Wow, that’s really cool. I’m going to look into that,’ or maybe, 'He’s nice about this. He goes about this a different way,’ and then they’ll look into it. But it’s not because I’m forcing anything upon anyone.

“I try to make [faith] a part of my life, just like it is. And I will never deny or force it. But I will always have it as a part of my life. … I hope that people can see it affects my life and how I am so passionate about it, and that’s the biggest effect I hope that people see.”

He also sends that message with his eyes.

Former Southern California running back Reggie Bush is generally credited with popularizing writing on the eye-black patches that football and baseball players wear, but Bush wrote “619” on his, the area code of his hometown of Spring Valley, Calif. Tebow writes Bible verses on his, most notably Philippians 4:13 and John 3:16.

Tebow has been criticized for it, but there is no doubt that it has had some effect on people.

He wore John 3:16 for the BCS national championship game last January, and the verse was the most-searched item on Google the next morning.

“I think it’s great,” UF coach Urban Meyer said. “I don’t mind when my daughter, my middle daughter GiGi, texts me every time what he’s wearing. She looks up the verse and texts it to me.

“I think that’s pretty cool.”

It’s impossible to measure whether Tebow’s admission, in response to a question at the SEC’s annual media days last July, that he was saving himself for marriage will have the same kind of effect on young fans, but Rogeberg hopes it will.

“I hope it makes him a role model,” Rogeberg said. “If someone with that opportunity for fame and so highly recognized wants to keep himself pure, then [he hopes people will ask], 'Is that not something that I should model, as well as his other attributes, his work ethic, his competitiveness, his desire to win, and to care for his body the way he has?’

“That’s part of what he’s doing by remaining pure.”

Tebow also has made an impact in ways that aren’t as visible. He often visits sick children, whether on his own or as part of the Goodwill Gators, UF’s community outreach program. He spent time with Milton Oshay Johnson, a Baker County High School football player who was paralyzed during practice in August 2008, and several children have asked to meet Tebow as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Those visits, as well as countless others, aren’t publicized.

“… Being with kids, being with sick kids, making them smile, I think those [memories] will probably be even more special to me than some of the games and some of the wins and the championships and whatnot,” Tebow said. “Because you know what? At the end of the day, that is more special, being able to use football as a platform to make a kid smile, to make a kid’s day.

“… That kid, that’s his life. It’s his opportunity or his Make-A-Wish to see me or to talk to me before a game. That’s a lot more special than even winning a game. When you put all the glitz and glamour aside, that’s what’s really special.”

Tebow’s charitable work and mission trips have had an impact on his teammates and coaches, too. Meyer and his family — wife Shelley, daughters Nicole and Gigi and son Nate — were inspired to take part in a mission trip of their own. They spent eight days in the Dominican Republic in July 2008 with a mission group and helped feed 100 families daily. They also spent time at an all-girls orphanage and a leper colony.

“It was a life-changing experience,” Meyer said.

Tebow also encouraged his teammates to get involved with charity work, whether through the Goodwill Gators or own their own. He did it subtly, asking some of his teammates to accompany him on some of his outings.

“He took the initiative to say, 'Hey, I want you to come with me and do this,’ ” fifth-year senior David Nelson said. “Guys started doing that. They actually started getting out there and seeing what it was and getting firsthand experience. They enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.

“It kind of trickled down to the other guys. Now, they want to take some younger guys with them.”

Perhaps Tebow’s most inspirational message to his teammates came after the Gators lost 31-30 to Ole Miss last season in Gainesville. He delivered what is now known as The Promise during a postgame interview.

His eyes red and his voice thick and cracking, Tebow gathered himself and apologized for the loss — and then made a guarantee.

“I just want to say one thing,” Tebow said before pausing to take several deep breaths to settle himself. “To the fans and everybody in Gator Nation, um [pause] you know what [pause], I’m sorry. I’m extremely sorry. We were hoping for an undefeated season. That was my goal, something Florida’s never done here.

“But I promise you one thing: A lot of good will come out of this. You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of this season, and you’ll never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season, and you’ll never see a team play harder than we will the rest of this season. God bless.”

The Gators haven’t lost since. A school-record 21 consecutive victories heading into Saturday’s game against Florida State at Florida Field.

“A lot of people get caught up in beating Florida State [as if] it’s the biggest thing in the world,” Tebow said. “Really, at the end of the day, when everything’s all put aside, it’s just a game.”

One he’s very good at. But he’s even better off the field.