Smurf Turf:

Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 8:06pm

Dictionaries are changing, English teachers cringing, and sports columnists like me are smiling.  We have someone to write about who is the real deal and not just a jock jerk.  We have someone we want to see win just because he’s a really great guy.   His name is Tim Tebow.

But back to the English for a moment.  Tebow is no longer a noun.  It’s a verb. Not only is Tebow a verb, but he’s now the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. His charisma and popularity are making people think twice about the  nation’s love of Lady Gaga and Dancing with the Stars. Tebow’s signature pre-game prayer is now taking the sports world by storm.  Gilbert Arenas, who started the fan craze of “planking,” has been replaced by Tebowing. Anybody can do it, and fans have taken advantage of that at the  new “Tebowing” is when fans take pictures of themselves mimicking Tebow’s pre-game prayer. Fans are all dropping to a knee, placing a fist on their forehead and lowering their head to pray. It’s planking 2.0, but on a spiritual level. has had more than 2.5 million hits since its launch last Tuesday.

And what does the young Denver quarterback think of all this? “I am glad to be a role model,” he says modestly.  And honestly.  And sincerely.  You know, all the things that make Tim Tebow, well, Tim Tebow.  Sports fans everywhere are obsessed with the home-schooled kid from Florida who fills his free time by doing things such as visiting prisons and working on humanitarian projects overseas.

His father, an evangelical pastor, taught his son early that God is everything. Tebow got the lesson and grew up relying on Him, and now teaches his teammates (as well as inmates) about who really is in charge. The Broncos have won one and lost one with Tebow under center, which is slightly better than before he was handed the starting quarterback job.  Bronco fans, many of whom consider football as their religion, are finding  faith  in their belief that Tebow must have God on his side and will lead them to the ultimate sporting spiritual experience:  a Super Bowl ring.

Not to throw cold water on the believers, but right now Tebow isn’t the best quarterback on the Denver Broncos.  Heck, he isn’t even the second best (Brady Quinn is). But Tebow plays his heart out, and makes everybody around him better. He will never take a play off and is the ultimate team player. He is what coaches lie awake at night and dream about:  He runs,  he throws, has a presence in the huddle. He can step in and teach Sunday School class on a moment›s notice.  The list goes on about the southpaw from Florida, and the list and legend is still growing.

What Tebow has is what everybody wants although not every quite knows what it is.  Maybe it›s a quarterback that looks like a linebacker.   Maybe it’s the jump-pass, or how he runs like a fullback, blocks like an O-lineman,  and throws better then most NFL quarterbacks. It’s just Tebow. He has found ways to win from his high school days to college, and now, to the NFL. Count me among those who believe he›ll lead his team to the Promised Land someday.  Smurf Turf believes Tebow always will be on a part of a competitive team.

Smurf Turf has associated with a few people who have met Tim Tebow and they all same the same thing: “He is real.” The smile, the great attitude is not for show.  It’s Tebow. compared Tim Tebow to the City of Detroit. Yes, a city. Tough and gritty, what you see is what you get.  But with a spiritual side, too.  Chuck Norris as a cultural icon is oh-so-yesterday;  Superman Tim is muscling Chuck to the sidelines.  Forget Britney Spears, the spongy faced Justin whatever-his-name is, vampire movies and American Idol.  They’ve been bested by the better man.  It’s Tebow.

The 24-year old still hasn’t completed a full season at quarterback, but has inspired many to be better Christians, athletes, Bronco fans, and well, human beings. The doubters are still there, and they  always will  be. But for now almost everybody is jumping on the Tebow bandwagon.  And it’s not a bad bandwagon to be on, if you think being kinder and more compassionate a change for the better.  And yet he does all this without coming across as anything other than someone like you and me.  

Listen to this:   “A kid that tweeted me with cancer, ‘I’m Tebowing while chemoing,’” Tebow says incredously.  “How cool is that? That’s worth it right there, if that gives him any encouragement or puts a smile on his face.”

Too good to be true?  Not at all.  It’s just Tebow. 

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