Paradise or the playoffs, Tebow shows it aint over ‘til it’s over

I suppose the prudent thing to do would be to leave the subject of sports to the experts, the Rick Jussells and Patti Arnolds of the world.

You don’t see them writing about politics or public policies. They have the good sense to leave those topics to those of us with some experience in that field (or to others who, by virtue of observing and possibly even voting, consider themselves expert enough to foist their opinions upon the rest of us).

Besides, yours truly was nothing more than a late-game sub in his own now-distant athletic endeavors.

I was the high school baseball player occasionally earning extra bases when some unfortunate pitcher managed to hit my oversized bat with his fastball; the tall, slow forward sent into collect a couple of rebounds and throw a few elbows while the starters caught their breath; the tackling dummy who gave up football after spitting out enamel when his head got caught between the pads of two opposing offensive linemen.

Which means I’m supremely qualified to write about Tim Tebow and all that surrounds the unorthodox quarterback whose winning ways and lifestyle have captivated the sports world and even those who wouldn’t know a backfield from their backside.

Besides, as a fledgling broadcaster covering the first two woeful years of the Phoenix Suns, I actually had opposing coach Dick Motta repeat into my microphone the famous quote that “it’s not over until the fat lady sings.”  (Unfortunately, for the Suns, it was pretty much over at that point in their initial expansion season, when they managed to win only 18 games.)

Whether it’s Motta’s dictum or Yogi Berra’s famous line, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” I’ll have to admit that waiting until there’s only 29-seconds left in the fifth quarter stretches even my exceedingly loose definition of procrastination.

What’s interesting to me is that Tebow’s faith and lifestyle are as much a part of the discussion as his late-game heroics and the Broncos’ 5-1 record since he was elevated to a starting role. Whether it’s taking a knee after a score or praising his Lord and savior in a post-game interview, wearing his religion on the sleeve of his jersey has generated as much controversy as the less-than-fancy footwork and less-than-stellar passing accuracy that still brought four straight victories.

I suspect most diehard Bronco fans wouldn’t much care if Tebow worships Jesus Christ, Buddha, the prophet Mohammed or the devil himself, so long as the Ws keep piling up. Like the rest of us placing our long-term bets on a God who values forgiveness and has a sense of humor, we’ll take any route to our preferred final destination, be it paradise or the playoffs.

Tebow is just the latest public figure to feel the heat from the spotlight.

It seems that we’ve evolved into a society as interested in tearing down those who gain some measure of fame as in celebrating their accomplishments. If you have any doubts, just ask Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich or any of the herd alternatively leading the stampede to the Republican presidential nomination. Or even Mitt Romney, who may be the Kyle Orton of GOP politics. Tim Tebow’s Lord knows Barack Obama can relate.

Some of that may be attributable to our ever-evolving mean streak as a society.

Spouses and kids are now fair game, even though they didn’t seek out notoriety. Youthful indiscretions are dragged up decades after those mistakes are made. Labels are quickly applied and most often ignore the nuances of overall philosophies. Statements and actions are first run though ideological filters before opinions are offered, opinions that are, more often than not, as easily predictable as they are disappointing and off track.

Personally, I’ll ignore Tebow’s prayerful fervor, appreciate the fact he apparently walks his religious talk, and revel in his football successes. I’ll also pray that victory can be assured a bit earlier in remaining games and that his version of paradise includes the playoffs.

A “has been” successfully and enthusiastically working his way to a “who’s he?”  Jim Spehar hopes Tim Tebow is thoroughly enjoying his 15-minutes in the spotlight.  Your comments are welcome at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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