Tim Tebow has become the most famous and lauded college football player in the past 25 years. And the hype surrounding him and his team, the Florida Gators, is even greater this year. The NY Times just did a piece on Tebow, with the focus being his myriad of off-the-field activities in the world of charity. (I recognize there is some discussion, maybe even controversy, over the church Tim Tebow belongs to, whether it is inviting or condemning in nature, etc., etc. That is not the focus here nor at this blog overall)
The full article can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/sports/ncaafootball/30tebow.html?adxnnl=1&ref=sports&pagewanted=1&adxnnlx=1251817226-u8S3W8q3UCx7ehC9wUT8kg, with an excerpt below
August 30, 2009
Florida’s Star Yearns to Make a Difference
By Pete Thamel, New York Times
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — To find the source of Tim Tebow’s inspiration, it takes three days, four planes and two hours of driving on roads so bumpy they rattle the spine. The journey leads to Uncle Dick’s Home, an orphanage in the Philippines so remote it has no mailing address.
More than 9,000 miles and a world away from Florida’s campus, Uncle Dick’s, a home for 48 orphans, is the best place to gauge Tebow’s reach as a college star and what it is he wants to accomplish with the platform his athletic success has afforded him.
Tebow has inspired the orphans personally — they easily break into Florida’s signature cheer, the Gator Chomp, despite not understanding football. One young boy is called Richard, after Tebow’s middle name.
Tebow has also helped them financially. Some of the more than $300,000 Tebow has helped raise while at Florida has enabled the children to get their own beds, drink clean water and stock their shelves with groceries.
“It’s such tangible things,” Tebow said. “Like getting a chain saw so they don’t have to cut down everything with an ax.”
Tebow, 22, has a chance during his senior year at Florida to establish himself as one of the most accomplished and recognizable athletes in collegiate sports history. But when Tebow talks about the long-term future, his ultimate hope is that football will provide a way for him to run a charitable empire.
With the same passion he has when he speaks about his teammates, his coaches and winning a third national title, Tebow talks of wide-eyed dreams of opening orphanages, a prison ministry, youth ranches and granting wishes to underprivileged children.
“It’s just what my heart is, helping,” Tebow said. “That’s what I feel passionate about, is trying making a difference for people who can’t make a difference for themselves.”
Tebow flirted with the N.F.L. after leading Florida to the national title in January. And although he returned to attempt to lead the Gators to back-to-back championships, there was also an ulterior motive.
Tebow’s status at Florida and in college football epitomizes the sprawling platform now available to college superstars. In fact, he said he thought his reach might be greater than that of some players in the N.F.L. (The article continues at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/sports/ncaafootball/30tebow.html?adxnnl=1&ref=sports&pagewanted=1&adxnnlx=1251817226-u8S3W8q3UCx7ehC9wUT8kg)