Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
Going back to an early age, I’ve always been a sports nut. There aren’t too many sports I don’t find interesting, and it seems I have spent a good share of my life in front of the television set watching football, baseball, basketball or whatever sport was on ESPN any given day.
Likewise some of the people I look up to the most are sports figures. My favorite for a very long while was Michael Jordan. In my eyes he could do no wrong, and although I fancied myself as a pretty good hooper, there were moves and shots he made that were impossible to emulate on the playground.
But it wasn’t just his basketball skills that attracted me to him. His will to win taught me how important it was too never give up, no matter how difficult the task at hand was. I was impressed that he kept his “nose clean” in an era when basketball players were always finding trouble. I was impressed that he was a genuinely decent man despite all his star power.
I have a new sports hero, and much like Jordan, he is trying to make the big leagues in two different sports. Tim Tebow, had a few outstanding games as a quarterback in the NFL, and now toils in baseball’s minor leagues where he hopes next year or the year after he will be on a big league roster.
But my infatuation with Tebow has nothing to do with his athletic prowess- far from it. Rather I think the guy is my favorite athlete for what he does off the football field or baseball diamond, although he has had his share of incredible on the field moments as well.
Here’s a small sample of Tebow acts of kindness that have made me a huge fan:
-While playing baseball in the minor leagues this year, Tebow noticed a man in the first row was having what appeared to be a seizure. Between innings he went over to the gentleman offering comforting words and striking up a conversation about football. The seizure soon dissipated.
-While flying on Delta to Los Angeles, a passenger was suffering from a heart attack, so the plane had to make an emergency landing. Tebow left his first class seat to go to the back of the plane and sit and pray with the man’s wife. Once the plane had landed he personally drove the wife to the hospital where her husband had been taken.
-When Tebow heard about the many victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting, he decided to pay a visit to those that had been hospitalized. This was not a visit to one victim. No Tebow made sure he sat and talked with every victim.
-I remember a few years ago when Tebow teamed with Good Morning America to pay off layaways for hundreds of WalMart shoppers at Christmas time. Tim personally paid off several dozen with his own money.
-Then there was a time he was hanging out with his friends ready to enter a restaurant. A stranger came up to him wanting to get a selfie of the two of them together. He went to take the picture and learned his batteries were dead. He asked Tebow to wait ten minutes so that he could run to his truck and get new batteries. He came back fifteen minutes later and there was Tebow waiting patiently. His friends had already left. Not only did he get the picture but Tebow gave the stranger his cell number so they could meet up when the picture was developed and he would autograph it.
I could go on and on. No sports figure have ever been so generous with his time and money. Tebow can always be found at a hospital, usually a children’s ward, offering gifts, conversation and prayer to sick patients. He donates too many worthy causes. He is one-of-a-kind – an athlete that cares more about the less fortunate than he does earning a major league salary. He is indeed the sports figure I admire most.