NFL quarterback Tim Tebow shocked us all by signing with the
New England Patriots, his third team in three years.
I'm obsessed with all things Tim Tebow. And I'm not sure why.
Sure, there's no denying he's a handsome young athlete. He's one tall drink of water. But the sporting world is filled with strapping young men -- and I'm not obsessed with them.
He also seems like a genuinely nice guy.
But this does not explain my (and ESPN's!) obsession with all things Tim.
What set Tim apart from his college days was his persistent and consistent Christian evangelism, which has been caught on camera countless times, in countless ways.
He first gained notoriety in the media by writing Bible verses
on his eye blacks during televised games.
He does lots of these...
...and these very public (some would say "showy") prayers during, before and after televised games. He does it so much, in fact, that the media has a name for this pose: they call it "Tebowing."
I know many people find such overt proselytizing irritating, and even offensive. Live and let live, and all that happy jazz. But I see it a bit differently.
Although I'm a Christian, I'm no longer an evangelical. But when I was Tim's age, I was right where he is now. Yes, I knocked on doors. You see, in that world, you are constantly told that everyone around you who isn't saved -- your mother, your best friend, that kid whose addicted to drugs and alcohol -- will burn in hell FOREVER if they don't change their ways. The Bible even commands that Christians "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
But he does not come across as "Holier than thou." He just seems like a friendly young guy who truly, compassionately does not want me to suffer the excruciating pain and suffering that would be an eternity in the lake of fire.
Tim raised eyebrows (and his profile) a couple of years ago by filming a commercial for Focus on the Family which aired during the Super Bowl. The media exploded before the ad even aired, because the purpose of the ad was to promote his anti-abortion views.
Now, I'm pro-choice (but with limits -- that's a topic for another blog post), so with raised eyebrows I viewed the commercial, expecting some hardcore anti-abortion messaging.
Talk about much ado about nothing! The ad was stunningly non-confrontational (considering it was paid for by Focus on the Family -- Dr. Dobson is not known for mincing words) and actually kid of sweet. It featured his mom saying that she considered an abortion but she was happy that she didn't, because she loves her son so much.
Awwwwwww. I didn't understand the uproar.
Which brings me to another thing about Tim that makes him -- to say the least -- not your typical NFL athlete. He professes his "virgin" status to any media outlet who will listen.
Tim Tebow: virgin
Tim Tebow: virgin
It's a little bit disorienting hearing all of this virgin talk coming out of this body.
I mean, let's face it: the guy screams "sex."
As my husband muttered under his breath only moments ago after glancing at these photos:
"There's no way he's a virgin."
Ha! Well. I have no idea if he is a virgin or if he is not.
It would be hard, but it's not impossible. Stranger things have happened.
And then there are the inevitable gay rumors. Photos like these don't help:
And then, just this week, I saw this photo:
Oh, my! Tim Tebow and Tom Brady locked in a very sexy, amorous looking snuggle!
But then I thought: wait a minute. It's expected in NFL culture that after the game, the players go onto the field and hug it out. I mean, we all know that Tom Brady, super-modelyzer extraordinaire, is absolutely not gay, right?
And in any hug, if you photograph it at just the right moment, it could be misconstrued as something that it's not, right?
"Wrong," said my husband, shaking his head. "When a guy hugs another guy, the last thing you want to do is gaze into his eyes all googly-eyed like. You do a MAN hug."
President Obama and Denzel Washington's hug follows all the rules of the straight man hug: make it quick, add some solid back smacks, and most importantly, no face or eye contact.
So, what do I know? Maybe he's gay, maybe he's straight, maybe he's a virgin, maybe he's having sex with everyone and anything that moves while continuing to evangelize.
I know, too, that there are some out there who are just waiting for his inevitable fall. The fact that he's been on 3 NFL teams in 3 years does not bode well for his professional future. But I do wish him well. The guy is 25 years old! Don't get me started about how lost and confused I was at 25.
But I think this discussion has solved the mystery for why we can't keep our eyes off of Tim Tebow. He's a mystery. There's some mixed messages there. So it brings us back for more -- to try to solve the puzzle. Who IS Tim Tebow?
In the end, though, it all boils down to this. Tim Tebow is football,
religion and sex, all rolled into one.
Translation: Tim Tebow IS America.