Saturday, September 05, 2009

Standing Firm in the Pocket

For the non-football fan: The 'pocket' is the space formed around a quarterback when his offensive line (the big guys in front of him trying to keep other big guys from tackling him) is pushed into the backfield (where the quarterback and running backs are before the play starts).

I've given an example of what to do and what not to do, standing firm in your faith while in the spotlight of fame or your career. With the college football season kicking off this weekend, perhaps no spotlight is greater than that on Tim Tebow, quarterback of the Florida Gators, returning national champion and Heisman Trophy winner. I've talked about him before, but I wanted to give him some more column length (as if he doesn't have miles of it already).

He is well known for his missions work, his prison ministry, and his celibacy (Pat Forde took a cheap shot in his opening Forde Yard Dash by saying, "A freshman is starting at quarterback at USC. A virgin is starting at quarterback at Florida."). And his openness with his faith combined with his notoriety make him an easy target for criticism. AOL's Fanhouse speculates how long it will take for someone to write "There Is" "No God" in eyeblack to counter Tebow's "John" "3:16" and "Phil" "4:3" to get under his skin. As I already pointed out, his chastity is already mocked by the hyper-testosterone sports nut. And you know there are girls out there who are actively trying to tempt him- it's a tired cliche: every girls wants to hook up with the starting quarterback. Amidst the trash talking every player receives on the gridiron, he must also contend with his own temper and pride (he drew criticism for doing the "Gator Chomp" in an Oklahoma player's face in last season's "championship" game).

Under this scrutiny he has held up remarkably well. He's not boastful, not proud, nor rude or self-seeking. Sounds like he walked right out of 1 Corinthians 13. But we must be careful not to put him on too high a pedestal. He can't be the object of our worship. Ted Kluck in Christianity Today begs us to cut him some slack. And we must always be careful when crowning the next sports messiah to remember how the mighty fall.

Regardless, Tim Tebow is a heck of a QB and a great role model of a Christian standing firm in his faith, even if he's scrambling out of the pocket.

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