Re-published: May, 2021.
guess who’s back…
First Division college football in America is a benchmark against which other Countries’ student athletic programs must be developed. Most indicators show its remarkable capability to generate Passions, Revenues & Talent. Carefully constructed & maintained, its patronage is built to last several lifetimes. While expertly curated & manufactured for live TV, there’s little in the way to dent its momentum in churning out high-quality, athletic talent. The Country does it so often they leave talent by the wayside every year. There just isn’t enough room.
A small, college-town called Gainesville in Florida hosts the mighty UF Gators; a catch-all for its entire, multi-sport, national athletic program. Its crown-jewel is its Football program. At its heart is a Stadium that will host 90,000 fans every weekend during a football season that starts in August, ending in January. Only 25,000 of those seats are reserved for students; the rest will descend weekly, from out-of-town to witness their college-team play ball. The Nation has managed to build many 80,000 seater stadiums for its first-year college students to play sports in, which will in-turn get a Primetime ESPN telecast. Turns out, that happens in high-school too. The Athletes are Rockstars before they are 16. Not uncommon that it’s also a “Get in jail, can get Free with no consequence” type of Rockstar-leverage.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Tim Tebow played for the UF Gators. The timing of this Article may have to do with his ex-coach from the UF Gators being recently hired as the head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars professional team. I think I can hear an NFL fan groan about what’s coming, but we’ll get there in a minute.
Homeschooling is a highly underrated concept. Typically the butt of a joke, the absolute need for Parents’ extended attention to their Children & the brute ability of any Parent to deliver such consistent care till their Child’s college years, is never recognized. It takes a certain patience & affection. School today is largely a place where Parents have their kids watched, while they work on their private ambitions. Society also expects both Parents to earn while their Child is placed in a cesspool of hyperactivity called School. Tebow was home- schooled with care & attention. In 2005, armed with a strong framework within which to operate, Tebow arrives into contemporary high-school to be learn to be a starting Quarterback. He wants to be a Football player for the rest of his days.
During a football career lasting from 2005-2012 that would go as far as playing in the NFL, Tebow would go on to display a Masterclass for athletic pursuit & lifestyle management. He’d developed a massive following of critics for his behavior. He’d attribute successes to God, quote the Bible, invite the team to pray, avoided every vice America could throw at him. That made his fans dig their heels-in harder. “It wasn’t about his beliefs”, they’d say. “It was about the courage to Hold the Line during the toughest moments”; its something Commoners know we fail at everyday. Early in his career, he famously confirmed to a Reporter that he was saving himself for marriage. In a World full of delightful experiences and in a Career that invites indulgence, he’d proceed to spend the next several years in the spotlight, doing only the one thing he craved – lighting up a Football-field on Primetime; without any pretense that he was the deserving of anything that came his way, despite being the sole-reason anyone watched a game he was involved in.
A series of events outside his control would terminate his NFL career early. Tebow will still be the one example I can quote for a person who did everything absolutely-right and still didn’t get what he wanted. The level at which he did everything right and yet came up short, should stand for the World, as a gentle-reminder that the pursuit is all there is; the journey was the blessing. He would depart without a single complaint. Stuck with that phenomenal framework gifted by his upbringing, he would continue to operate, turning his focus to Family, God & a Foundation that helps Children around the World. He got himself a job as an Analyst on TV, to pay bills. Usually this is good enough to coast-out the rest of your days, buried with popularity & wealth. But Tebow would use his spare-time differently. He always said his priorities were – Faith, Family, Education, Football – in that order. Knowing he had the first-three down pat, he would begin a journey, in darkness, to make it back under the bright-lights.
Having built-up superior athletic abilities, the segue into America’s other sporting institution was easy. He landed a gig playing with the NY Mets, but was only allowed to join the practice-squad; as it well should be. But its tantamount to a type of exposure & demotion that most people reject for their careers, because they can’t explain it to their Parents or Wives even. For full public-view, he’d display he was a pretty useless Baseball player. Of course he was; he hadn’t had a rep yet. The A-Star athlete would slowly disappear from the spotlight as he spent hour after hour trying to develop capabilities to break into the NY Mets B-team. Amidst his other commitments, he traveled to no-name arenas, with no-name players, getting derided by no-name reporters for his lack of performance in comparison to an A-Star baseball player. It didn’t frazzle the Kid once. He worked, always smiled at questions; answered them with a certain peace, and then kept working on his performance. Even at 30, which he is now approaching, he exhibits the intensity & approach that he showed as a 20-year old QB for Florida. He just wants to play. And feel the pleasure of pulling off a Win.
Apparently now, the World would come full-circle.
Anyone who grew up rooting for him knew that the World is an unfair place, if A Tebow cannot get what He wants. “There was no way! You’re doing everything right!“. But Us fans have all came to terms several years ago. There’s no fair. There just… is. But maybe, just maybe, the quiet work he did in the dark, is about to present him one more shot. Urban Meyer, his ex-coach at UF was just presented a job to coach professionally for the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL team. His first transition from College to Pro-Sports. The primary reason for Tebow’s career being railroaded was (it’s not ’cause he couldn’t throw) his presence put undue attention on his Team & Coaches. The Coaches he was partnered with were in a position of fighting for their own jobs; thus resisting the urge to experiment with his skills in any meaningful way, and they focussed on short-term gains to improve their Team, while largely relegating Tebow to the bench.
I always maintained we hadn’t see the last of Tebow yet. It couldn’t be! But if this writing is any indication, it has been long-since I came to terms with the idea that Tebow’s career was over. My own impressions that the Universe may do right by you, if You put every sinew of your being into the goal at hand, were long-since modified. But time, moves slow. And life takes a long time. Fate… and his work, may have just kept his Universe together, long enough to be able to get one more tryout.
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