Monday, January 16, 2012

I joined the cult of Tebow

I don't like football. I don't watch it. And I don't know many of the players. But, I think that this is going to change next year as I have become an unwilling follower of the cult of Tebow. Allow me to explain the term "unwilling". It means in this context that I cannot stop myself from watching him. It probably started weeks before the wild card game where he shot down the Steelers with a play that left me standing and staring at the television and thinking "I don't believe this." It probably started because of Saturday Night Live's skit first alerting me to the "over the top" behavior of this now world famous quarterback. Millions of internet memes pounding my eye sockets as I travel websites like Reddit and follow links that appear on my google homepage are probably responsible. Anyone that knows me knows that I am influenced by advertising. I do follow trends. That's just me. I can't help it. So I got sucked into the Cult of Tebow...all of this despite the fact that I don't believe in god. But none of that really matters now does it?
Despite the fact that I'm atheist, I do respect a man's conviction in what he
believes as long as he doesn't try to dictate my life or what I should believe.
Tebow behaving like this on the field is something I've never seen, and it's
clearly one of the reasons I like him. He stands up for what he believes and
doesn't give a shit what other people think of him. I like that. I respect that. No,
I don't believe that anything "divine" has ever or was ever going on. But the
fact that other people did was worth paying attention to. I wish I could believe
but religious faith is simply something that I was never meant to have.
I have no concrete explanation for why I like him. Only mixed feelings searching for an answer. I also felt sadness. Sadness when the Patriots completely crushed the Broncos on Saturday. I've never felt that for a football team. I don't understand where the emotional investment comes from. I experimented on Sunday by watching the Giants play the Packers, and I felt nothing. I could care less for either team and could care less who won. I also tried to see why people like Tom Brady, and he just looked like an emotionless angry robot that was as loveable as a swather that cuts down wheat on a field.

So that is the key (at least for me) in watching sports. Does that even make any sense? I have to have the ability to root for a player. Without that, the game is meaningless and kind of boring.

It leaves me with a question.  Why do I like this uber Christian underdog? Well he's exciting, he's unique, his confidence is undeniable (maybe it has something do with this)....

In the end, I have no idea.

But he has "IT" quality. A thing that defies my ability to provide a definition in words but is akin to Charisma (but obviously something more than that). People with "IT" command attention.  Whatever you want to call it, he had the ability to wake a fat wet bag of cement (which is what I see myself as) from his apathetic take on football and tune in to watch. I guess next fall I'll be watching the Broncos and Tim Tebow. For now, I'll just have to be content and read his book. Life is so strange, but then again, so am I.


  1. I'm not a football fan and I'm just beginning to pick up on this Tebow fellow. He's probably a fine person but I still think athletes make poor heros and role models. I'm also suspicious of people who wear they religion on their sleeves.

  2. Um... no knocking on my Patriots. ;) Though I will agree with you about Tom Brady being a robot.

  3. Even I, someone who knows nothing about sports, have read about this guy. He certainly leaves an impression with people. Don't count yourself out about having faith some day. You may get a big surprise.

  4. I haven't heard of this guy, but the kind of football I follow involves people kicking the ball so that's probably why. As to why you like him? If you could find the answer to that one, you'd make a lot of money, I think.

  5. I keep hearing Tebow's name, but I just don't watch football (or any sports). I loved the SNL skit.

  6. Yeah, that's exactly it. I couldn't stand our other quarterback, Orton. He was so boring. He's probably a better quarterback than Tebow, but no one wanted to watch him play. Tebow brought excitement back to the game for me and lots of others. And he does fill out his uniform nicely. :))

  7. You just like him because he's hawt. Despite that he'd douse you with holy water and light you on fire if he ever met you.

  8. You like him because as you said, he stands for something. And he's not afraid to let others know he stands for something. He does so quietly - anything you hear about his Christianity comes from the media beating it to death. (They are the ones fueling the fire, which is so ironic.) He's not perfect - no Christian is - but he's convicted and genuine.

  9. I know what you mean about him. I don't watch football, but he has me intrigued, just because so many people have been talking about him.

    Also, I think it's a wonderful thing that you and I can be friends even if we have a significant difference in faith - all because we accept each other for what we are.

  10. Welcome to the club! I love this guy because he's got such an incredible heart. My family prays for him...not that he'll win games (though we're Broncos fans), but that he will continue to have the strength to affect people in a positive way.

  11. i love this post, michael! theres hope for you yet!

    tebow! tebow!


  12. It's funny how some things just resonate even if we don't know why. We like what we like.

    And I'm from New England so Go Pats! Lol

  13. For the record, Christianity is not a religion (although there are religions such as Protestant and Catholic within Christianity) and Tebow does not wear it on his sleeve. Nor would he douse you in Holy water.

    I started watching him when he played for the Gators (two of my series' characters went to U of F) and I really admired the young man. He has charisma, which means people are attracted to him because he believes passionately in his dream.

    Really wish Denver would've won this weekend, but I think God accomplished what He needed to with last week's miraculous win.

    The media annoys me - they are just waiting for Tebow to fall. Poor kid is going to get a speeding ticket and the media will flay him alive.

  14. I don't watch football and I'm not familiar with Tebow. I've read bits and pieces about him, and this is the longest piece I've read. Thanks for sharing the skit.

  15. I'm not a football fan either, but found myself watching that game-and enjoying it. Weird. :/

  16. There have been other players like him. I think the reason he's gotten so much attention, though, is that the "experts" keep saying he shouldn't be winning. He's not a good quarterback. Etc, etc. It's like when a doctor says that someone is going to die, that nothing can be done, and, yet, the person recovers. It's elevated him above the stature of other players because he kept winning when he "shouldn't have."

    All of that said, but I don't watch football. I don't think I've seen a game in more than a dozen years.

  17. Michael, might I just say... I am glad to hear of someone liking Tebow despite not being a Christian or not believing in God. It kind of pisses me off that everyone mocks him because he doesn't hide who he is. I think he is an awesome player. I seriously talented player! And that fact that he doesn't have to act like a jerk is admirable, especially for all the young people who watch football. BTW- them getting killed by the patriots sucked butt. I was feeling bad about it too. But it doesn't make me like them any less. I think the explanation in sports has something to do with this... you're watching people play their hearts out and put their "everything" into a game and it's hard to see them get crushed.

    Thanks for the post! Sorry for the rambling response :)

  18. @Stephen: Most men desire to be role models (hence) boy scouts. Most women desire fame. The two are not the same thing although they are similar in many ways. Tim Tebow has "fame" but it is not the same as that possessed by the trashy "Jersey Shore" cast. And most religious people wear their religion on their sleeves.

    @Cassie Mae: Hah. He's a machine. I wasn't knocking him so much as saying I'm completely uninterested in him. It's not like he doesn't have three billion fans, three superbowl rings, a billionaire supermodel wife, and a baby boy who's skin sparkles in the sun while he flies around because the genes that went into making him are part of the master race that will one day rule us all.

    @Belle: I require proof of things to believe in them. That's the problem. I am a man of science.

    @Sarah: Oh yeah. I agree.

    @L.G.: We'll gab on twitter next fall I'm sure.

    @Grumpy: I don't discount that.

    @Alex: He isn't preachy. His fans are, yes. As soon as he opens his mouth and preaches, I'll turn off the television and be disinterested again.

    @Misha: Let's be honest. We're friends because I read and critique your writing and don't charge you a cent. It has nothing to do with faith.

    @Anita: Thanks for visiting.

    @Tara: I didn't know I was hope-less.

    @Cheryl: Don't you have a house to go clean? I'm going to call hoarders on you.

    @L.Diane: You're wrong. It has been defined as a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings. And that's "for the record". I don't want to get into an argument with you over definitions.

    @Medeia: You're welcome :)

    @Alyson: Me too.

    @Andrew: experts? You mean the panel on CBS that predicts before the game who is going to win? Yeah they did that yesterday and only one out of the five or six said the New York Giants. They're just former football players like Dan Marino that have an "opinion", have a job, and need to take up air time to keep people from changing the channel.

  19. I agree with what Alex said about him as far as why many people like him. It's something about his confidence in showing what he believes in. He's grateful for his talent and belives it came from a higher source. It's hard not to like that. I think he's already become a role model for kids and most likely he will live up to it.

  20. I'm still confused as to why people think football players kneeling on the field is NEW.

    When a player is severely injured and the medical staff rush out with a stretcher, you'll see the players kneeling and praying.

    At the end of every single football game, there's always a group of players that kneel, hold hands, and pray.

    I think Tebow became the "lightning rod" for sports/religion when he made that anti-abortion commercial.

    Tebow was born in the Philippines. And his mom got some sort of infection while pregnant with him. Doctors in the Philippines are very much against abortion except in cases where the mother's life is in danger. And they suggested she terminate the pregnancy. Which she of course didn't. So Tebow made that commercial (and I think there were billboards too) about being someone that could have been aborted.

    I like the guy because he's sticking to his guns and living what he believes. He's building a medical center in the Philippines. And he is a positive role model for kids - something that is not only lacking in the NFL, but it's something many of us can admire.

  21. As a lifelong Chicagoan, I'm supposed to never root for another team or player, especially if that other team or player is better than the home team. That being said, I've also come around to liking Tebow. At first, I wondered what was so funny about him. And then I figured out that people laugh at him, make fun of him because he's not afraid of being honest. He also doesn't seem to buy into sports machismo like the vast majority of professional players.

    I like him because he seems like a standup guy, which is a rarity, nowadays.

  22. @Leigh: Mmm...I think you missed what I was saying. I don't have a choice really in liking or not liking Tebow. He's captured my attention, and until he does something that makes me mad, I will continue to orbit around him and watching what he does.

  23. Grrrr... I was SO SAD Sat night... bleh. I really thought they had a chance... I always root for the underdog...

  24. @Cindy: Oh he's a huge role-model.

    @Jay: You read too literally, sir. It is New. "New" meaning that the person saying it is "new" is "new" to them. I don't watch football. So these things you are pointing out may not be "new" to you but they are "new" to me and countless others that have only watched the events of these kinds of games through what we catch in our peripheral vision in a glance at USA Today.

    You know a lot about him. I haven't read his book yet, but I downloaded it on my Nook. Was the book good?

    @Reinhardt! Why are you supposed to never root for another team or player? Is this some unwritten rule? It seems to me that for a game to be interesting the key is to get invested in multiple players. If you have one, then when their season ends, everything is pointless and boring. My goal is to find one or two other players that I can like in different teams so that I will be compelled to follow to some extent the progress of said team. Just exclusively rooting for one team doesn't make sense to me. What if they are really bad? Does that mean you just watch a few games and are done?

  25. I don't know much about football (I'm Canadian, so I'm a hockey fan, eh), but I have heard about Tim Tebow. I agree with you, he has that IT factor.

  26. Yay! Someone else who's as fascinated by Tebow as I am.

    I'm with you 100% on needing a reason to root for (or against) a team. I haven't really liked the Packers since they got rid of Favre. While I kind of support them and want to wish them well, they're like a stepdad who I blame for getting rid of my real dad.

    That was when I realized I root more for players than teams -- and Tebow caught my attention this year because everyone was so negative about him. But watching him play is exciting, and he's so far proven to be 99% good (I have some doubts, re: his wanting to golf with Tiger Woods) character and I think he's a better QB than people give him credit for.

    So can I expect you to be leaving comments on Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! now?

  27. Ironic -- I wrote in part about Tebow in my own blog today. But then I'm in Denver so the Broncos/Patriots game was HUGE here. And though I only watched the end of it, I knew it wasn't going well when the entire neighborhood got so SILENT.

    As for Tebow -- I like him, I loved the SNL skit, and he definitely comes across as human as opposed to a sports machine. I also respect that he'll never be another out-of-control athlete with a substance abuse problem or a string of cheated-on women in his wake.

  28. Late to the party, as usual, and clearly living under a rock. This guy clearly has some unique qualities, which is why you like him. Reminds me of my post today.

  29. Tebow is all over the news and I guess he deserves the attention he gets.

    I believe too that people should be left alone with their faith as long as they are not hurting any one in any manner.

  30. To be honest, football completely goes over my head...okay they don't even show it here in Australia. But maybe the IT thing that makes you like him is something you can use in one of your characters:)

  31. 'IT' is incredibly difficult to define, but we all know it when we see it.

    I have yet to get over Elway retiring. lol And I have yet to adjust to pacific time as far as football is concerned. I dropped my home team and have no one to root for at this point. So, I pretty much only watch the Super Bowl at this point.

  32. Hey, look at you, talkin some football. Very nice.

    Thanks for your comment today. I'm disappointed, but proud of the team for a great season. They fell short, but that's life. I'll be cheering them on again next season.

    I'm not a Tebow fan, but I do respect the guy. It's amazing how polarizing he is. He clearly has something people respond to, and it's fascinating to watch the mania.

  33. "an emotionless angry robot" = Brady; holy cow, you almost had me laughing out loud at that -- good call

  34. I am a football fan. I live in the Southeast and have heard about Teebow relentlessly since he was a high school senior. After his overexposure for the past 6 or 7 years I've been very impressed that he never seems to be 'on.' He just is what he is. Even other 'do everything the right way' players like Peyton Manning have had a scandal or two when they were in college. I won't go so far as to root for the guy - but he is fascinating.

  35. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

    I really like Tebow as a guy (from what I know of him). I don't think he's a very good quarterback though...

  36. fun clip, mike!

    as for sports... meh!

    i know what the results will be BEFORE the games start: one side wins, the other loses... ALWAYS

    nuff said....

  37. Don't know what this about...but I'm atheist too! WOOOO! :)

  38. Still laughing at your response to me, lol. A master super race of little Tom Brady's I think I'd be okay with though. Better than Darth Vader I guess. At least I'd know I was smarter than the most powerful guy in the universe ;)

  39. I saw that skit on SNL when they did it. It was so funny.
    Not a football fan here either but the guy does have something.

  40. Awesome post and this guy has been all over TV, FB and Twitter. Good for him, stand by your convictions. And good for you, for standing by yours.

  41. The media has over sensationalized his Christianity. Most Christians pray quietly, try not to judge anyone, and love everybody. The media is the one who jumped on his faith. No one is perfect, but I love the fact that he could inspire others.

  42. I can't stand Tebow. I don't think he has the "It" factor- he just has the press fawning all over him because he says god every other sentence. And being in the media all the time is all it takes to be "It" these days. He's not a great football player- at least not yet- and I doubt he ever will be but I'm not sure the sports complex will ever admit it because they want him to be their David who beats Goliath (christian reference-- Old Testament really).

    I don't watch football anymore because I want my son to live in a home at least half the time where boys have a future other than in sports and particularly in football. Unfortunately, poor black kids are raised to believe that's the only way they're going to get to college or have any kind of future... It's a terrible shame. And since my son is black (because that's how people categorize him- somehow completely ignoring his mother is white) I have a personal issue with football and the Tebow craze -especially since you can't escape it here. Ugh.