Tim Tebow an underdog for a troubled time

He arrived at a time when the nation was fearful and fighting malaise, hungry for a hero to root for, … Continued

He arrived at a time when the nation was fearful and fighting malaise, hungry for a hero to root for, eager to find hope amidst the dark clouds of uncertainty.

Do you remember the story?

It was 1938, smack in the middle of the Great Depression.

That the the hero was a three-year-old thoroughbred racehorse made no difference. After all, Americans enjoy rooting for the little guy, especially when that little guy is criticized and counted out by so-called experts.

Seabiscuit was a three-year-old horse from Kentucky. Analysts thought him too small and too wobbly to be a real contender and his performance in his first few races seemed to confirm the corporate consensus. But something clicked, or better yet, somebody gave the horse a chance. In time he didn’t just win, but was declared the best horse in America. He lifted people’s spirits and helped to remind them that with heart and hard work good things can happen.

In the 2003 Academy Award-nominated film about the hero horse, his owner declares, “Everybody loses a couple. And you either pack up and go home or you keep fighting!”

Cynics might be tempted to dismiss such sentiment as Pollyannaish or myopic. Let them. The improbable story is true.

I’ve been thinking about that old horse lately, not because I’m a fan of the sport, which I’m not. Nor am I all that interested in the fact that he won when people thought he would lose. I’m most impressed with what that effort did for the American psyche. People pulled for that horse for no other reason than because the horse gave them hope. It gave them something to cheer about when things in the country looked bleak. It reminded them that success is not just about victory but also persistence and attitude.

Which is why I think Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is today’s version of Seabiscuit. The public is particularly hungry for a good guy to root for and eager to see an underdog defy his critics.


View Photo Gallery: The quarterback for the Denver Broncos has become a polarizing figure in football, in part because of his outward displays of Christian faith.

To be sure, they’ve found an affable and honorable hero in the former Heisman Trophy-winning player.

It’s also refreshing to see a guy who gets paid to play football remind reporters that there are more important things in life than football, namely his faith in Jesus Christ and his care and concern for his fellow man. When Tebow was asked to address the team the evening before last Sunday’s game, he gave an inspired message based upon Proverbs 27:17:

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

“I just tried to share from the heart,” he later said.

Which is exactly what the world is instinctively craving, whether they know it or not – a person with heart who wants to help lift up the weary by infusing them with hope – hope that will never disappoint or let them down.

With another win this past Sunday in San Diego, his fifth in six starts, “Tebow Talk” grows greater still, including that of his detractors who still think he’s overrated. But if you ask me, Tim has given a lot of people a lot of hope – not that good guys win, but that good guys never give up, never give in – and in doing so, help to remind us to keep the main thing (our Christian faith), the main thing.

Harry How

GETTY IMAGES

Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos prays before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 27, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Broncos went on to win 16-13 in overtime. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Daly is president of Focus on the Family.

More On Tim Tebow:

Early Lead:
Kurt Warner says Tebow should tone down religious rhetoric

The League: John Fox, the man behind Tim Tebow

Tebow Train rolling along with fourth-quarter comebacks making Broncos relevant again

Q&A:
Why does Tebow grab so much attention? How far can he go?

Early Lead:
John Fox says Tebow would “be screwed” running regular offense

About

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

Read More Articles

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

noplaceonearth
An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

shutterstock_148333673
Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

shutterstock_53190298
Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

shutterstock_185995553
How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

HIFR
Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

shutterstock_186364295
This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

SONY DSC
Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.