Tim Tebow coming to New York may be a strange experience for the G-d fearing all-star, but it should be a welcomed feeling for parents of young fans – and for Jews of all ages. Growing up in a secular world, so many of our youth today consider celebrities their heroes, for kicking a ball, swinging a club, or throwing a touchdown – but so many of those “heroes” are, in reality, the worst role models for our kids. Between the partying, objectification of women and other woes, shouldn’t youth (and all of us young at heart) admire people for their actions, their words, and their decency?
What Tim Tebow does is give us someone who lives his life with fear and love of God – and what can be better? An individual who is famous and wealthy – yet confident in who he is, and wants to use his platform to do good in the world. After all, he can throw a football, but he’s a G-d fearing good man. There are more important things than winning a game and self respect and respecting others are on top of that list.
Tebow says: “What’s so amazing in today’s society is people look up to football players. And as football player, you have a platform. And it’s so much more important than any touchdown or trophy or anything you could win with football. It’s taking that platform and be able to influence people.” He goes on to say: “When people meet me, I hope that they say this-this is a guy who, number one, loves the lord, but he also loves people and he wants to make a difference in people’s life. And he wants to help everyone he comes in contact with and he is genuine, he is real, and he cares about people. And it’s not about the scoring touchdowns, or being famous, or anything like that. But its about relationships, it’s about making a difference in people’s lives, and at the end of the day it’s about glorifying God.”
In New York, Tebow will find himself exposed to an array of religions that he may have only read about or seen on television, but what he probably is not aware of is that the Jews of this city look at his arrival with a particular excitement. Often attending professional sports games, I always notice young kids with kippot (yarmulkes) on their heads. Seeing someone so famous, yet so openly proud of his religion should only strengthen Jewish fans (particularly the young) and allow them extra confidence in their outward pride for our religion – and love for the Lord.
What a relief a man like Tebow brings as he makes you proud to wear religion on your sleeve. He plays the game hard, but keeps life in perspective. His celebrity does not define him, his beliefs do. His charity, The Tim Tebow Foundation, exists to bring faith, hope and love “to those needing a brighter day.” And the Jewish notion of Tikkun Olam, healing the world, is something we can all cheer for.
He has a G-d given talent, and he gives the credit where it’s due. Jews thank G-d each morning, for having made us according to his will right after we thank him for returning our souls to our bodies after a night of sleep. We have a lot in common with the way Tebow shows his faith. Tim Tebow should be admired for being positive and showing us all, especially in a city where one can easily get lost, that faith and prayer are fundamental and nothing to be ashamed of. He is a positive role model for all American youth, and a great person to point to and say – “that is someone I’m proud of.”
In Samson, a novel written by the late Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky, he wrote, “Tell them three things in my name, not two: Gather iron, anoint a king, and learn to laugh.” Tebow’s proudly proclaims that his king is G-d, and he clearly has the iron in his arm. If he doesn’t already, he should take New York by storm, smile at the skyline and just laugh at how wonderful life can be.
All of us who are young at heart should applaud his talent and cheer for his consummate faith. You can be a great sports hero and a great person – it’s cool to be both.
Baruch Hashem (Thank G-d) that Tim Tebow is in New York.