He was born to Christian missionaries in Makati City, Philippines despite the urging of doctors to abort him. The mother had suffered a life-threatening infection while pregnant and the drugs used to wake her from a coma created a severe placental abruption that the doctors expected would cause a stillbirth in the child and potentially take the mother’s life as well. This story could be a lot different if the parents had decided to follow their doctor’s advice and have an abortion, but due to their Christian convictions abortion was not an option. The mother survived and the child, well, the child became Superman.
Yes, yes I know that Superman doesn’t really exist, but try telling that to the football players in the South East Conference. You see that child that was supposed to be stillborn, the one that doctors advised the parents to abort for the safety of the mother – he became the first player in NCAA football history to pass for more than 20 touchdowns and run for more than 20 touchdowns in the same year. He became the first sophomore in the history of college football to win the Heisman Trophy as the sport’s top player. He became Tim Tebow and with that he became both reviled and idolized simultaneously.
Tim Tebow’s story is an amazing one, but without his mother Pam deciding to have Tim in the first place, the story would never have been written. You can make the argument that Tebow may very well be one of the most influential athletes in history – already. Oh, and he hasn’t even played professionally yet. Tebow chose to play at the University of Florida and while his accomplishments on the field make him arguably the most accomplished collegiate football player in history, it is his Christianity and his willingness to share his faith that has turned him into both a role model and a whipping boy.
You see, Superman’s legend wasn’t just forged between the hash marks, it was created when he helped lead his coach to Christ. It was enhanced when with each and every touchdown he acted like a gentleman and with each and every interview he used the exposure as a bully pulpit to spread his faith. Not since the late great Reggie White the proclaimed Minister of Defense has football seen such an outspoken Christian. And with all respect to White, not even he reached 90 million people at one time. Indeed, Tebow is credited with reaching that insane amount of people when he wore John 3:16 on his eye-black during the national championship game. The next day over 90 million people searched Google for “John 3:16.” Among those who were affected by Tebow’s eye black was former University of Tennessee quarterback Jonathon Crompton who was born again this year after becoming interested in Jesus due to Tebow.
But with success comes enemies and numerous detractors have emerged to urge people that Tebow must be “too good to be true.” National Football League talent gurus like Mel Kiper project that Tebow’s motion is too long and his accuracy is too questionable. Jealous fans of other schools and those people who are just tired of seeing Tebow on ESPN have dubbed him “Baby Jesus” and a “goody two shoes.” The NCAA has even passed the Tim Tebow Rule banning messages on eye-black.
Despite this, the Denver Broncos traded into the first round to take Tebow with the 25th draft pick in the most recent NFL Draft (a move Mel Kiper gave an “F”). So now Tebow is on the big stage where he will be right where he wants to be – in the spotlight. However, unlike other attention hounds in the NFL - see Terrell Owens and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson - Tebow will look to use the attention to spread a slightly different message - one of hope, peace, and forgiveness. Tebow will once again use the soap box to urge others to experience Christ. And as for the detractors, Superman has had his cape pulled on before and he has overcome much greater odds.