Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow's example

Dan Proft Dec. 16, 2007, 1:46am

God. Family. Academics. Football.

Those are the priorities, in order, of Tim Tebow, as he announced to the world on Saturday night upon winning the Heisman Trophy as the nation's best collegiate football player.

Tebow's is a story worth noting as we enter both college bowl season and the holidays--a time when we are all called to reflect upon the priorities which drive our lives and make the necessary adjustments.

Historically, sports have been ahead of the learning curve relative to offering enlightened cultural norms--racial integration comes immediately to mind.

But lately that has not been the case--and the biggest names have served as the worst examples.

The old Cold War joke about the East German women's swim team now applies to basbeball's home-run king. Barry Bonds' legal troubles grow in his 40s the way his hat size inexplicably did in his mid 30s.

Michael Vick, perhaps the greatest athlete ever to play quarterback, will spend the next two years of his professional prime breaking big rocks into little ones because of his inhumane hobby.

Alex Rodriguez has so little respect for the game and the ancillary ballplayers that are not him that he allowed his serpentine agent to infringe upon the well-deserved World Series championship celebration a fierce rival earned in October.

The imperious Bill Belichick, coach of a NFL dynasty, cannot resist the temptation to illicitly spy on an inferior rival in contravention of League rules.

Against this backdrop of bad attitudes and worse judgments, Tim Tebow gives thanks for everything he has, demonstrates an understanding of how he has become everything he is, and expends everything he can in honor of his priorities: God. Family. Academics. Football.

In a world dominated by the language of entitlement, the Florida quarterback speaks of opportunity, as in he appreciates the ones he has been given--beginning with the one provided by his mother who weathered a serious illness that endangered her pregnancy to bear the fifth Tebow child, Tim.

In those intervening 20 years, Tebow has venerated his God-given talent by remembering from whence it came and by not confusing his talent for his identity.

In an arena replete with manufactured personalities, false humility and pro forma praise, Tebow provides a genuine enthusiasm for the talents and contributions of others, both teammates and competitors, as much as for his personal achievements.

And he is only a sophomore.

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