Yeah, I know in proper English the “g” in the title should be capitalized. So should the “q” for that matter, but that’s off subject. I kept the “g” small on purpose due to the subject matter of this post. So much has been made of Tim Tebow’s show of faith this season that some people have lost their focus on reality. Just recently Bill Maher made a ridiculous comment on Tebow’s faith on Twitter. Of course Maher, being the confident atheist he is, didn’t mind offending a deity that he doesn’t believe in, but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that Tim Tebow does exist and it’s poor form to make fun of someone’s faith regardless if you agree with them or not (for the record, I’m with Tebow). Part of what ails this country is the blatant lack of respect for one another. Tebow makes no attempt to hide his faith and that should be respected, not ridiculed. This whole sordid affair is still not as bad as another problem. The modern athlete has become deified to a ridiculous level. Too many people forget that those football players they worship each week are no different than they are. Sure, they’re bigger, stronger, faster, and of course richer than most of the fans, but they’re people just the same. Tebow should be acknowledged as possessing an uncommon amount of competitiveness and athleticism, but not worshiped because of those qualities. Of course his high moral standards and willingness to share his faith add further to the desire of many to worship him. It’s only natural that parents would want their kids to worship the squeaky clean guy instead of one that shoots himself in the leg (sorry Plaxico). Unfortunately, we too often make our sports heroes larger than life. As players go, Tim Tebow is a less than average quarterback at this point of his career. It is his drive and determination that have pushed him to succeed, not his ability as a quarterback. A top-notch defense on the other side of the ball hasn’t hurt matters either. Not that I don’t think that he will never become a great quarterback. Only time will tell if he can become the guy that strikes fear into opposing defenses with every snap of the football. The real issue will be if he can resist the pressure the public and media places on him to be the surreal image of Tim Tebow that is portrayed. Many an athlete has been ruined by living up to who they think they are instead of just being themselves. Any NFL fan can name more than one player gone astray or who has gotten into trouble with the law because they think they are above it. Seeing Tim Tebow profess his faith reminds me a little of Ben Roethlisberger when he started his professional career. Roethlisberger was also a man who professed his faith and seemed to be a straight arrow. I was thrilled that my favorite team was able to draft such a fine upstanding young man. Success had a twist for young Ben. Unlike Tebow, Roethlisberger possessed great skill as an NFL quarterback from the beginning. That skill, backed by a good team brought success for Ben earlier than most see. He soon started living up to the legend of “Big Ben” and forgot all about the upstanding young man he had been. We all know the sordid details of how that played out. Most disturbing was that it took more than one incident for him to come to his senses. Fortunately he did come back to reality and has once again become Ben Roethlisberger and not “Big Ben.” I sincerely hope Tim Tebow doesn’t fall prey to the pressure of being what the press and the fans think he is. I hope he can remain the same Tim Tebow he has always been. Even if he doesn’t develop into a great quarterback, just being the man he is should be enough. If Tebow’s Broncos happen to face Roethlisberger’s Steelers in the playoffs, I hope Ben is able to give him a word of advice and maybe even a phone number he can call in a time of need. It’s time the top players are content with being upstanding citizens that young children can look up. It’s also time for the fans and the press to stop manufacturing “gods.” One God is all that any of us need.
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