Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What it feels like to be 10 again.

A friend of ours, and a Lady Gator no less, suggested we have an "annoying Tebow story" link for non-Gators who find these sort of perpetual "Tebow does nice stuff" tales annoying.

What we find a bit funny, but also refreshing, is that a "nice Tebow" story is always lurking. You just know the next one will pop up sooner and not later. And almost as frequent is the accompanying photo of Tebow looking like he's having the best time in the world.

Well, here's that story and photo from the Georgia game. (And we also like that the kid is wearing sandals, on Halloween.)

Warning: Tim Tebow story ahead.

I know, I know. We've done a story or two on the local kid who made good, helped the Gators win national titles, won a Heisman Trophy, did mission work, got hit on the head, continued walking on water ...

It's gotten to the point that one of my friends says she keeps hoping for photos of Tebow with a bottle of booze and a couple of exotic dancers. (Yes, she's a Florida State fan.)

And I do have people who call me and say, "Psst. I've got a story about Tim Tebow for you."

But these stories typically involve Tebow quietly doing something nice. Visiting a paralyzed teenager. Signing an autograph. Playing catch with a 10-year-old kid.

The latter happened last Friday, after the Gators' final practice before the Florida-Georgia game.

Kris Huggins went to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, just hoping to see the Gators get off the bus. He ended up on the field, running patterns, catching passes from Tebow.

"They must have been out there for 10 minutes, just the two of them," said Kris' mother, Denise Durden.

The story starts with Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Chief David Stevens helping Kris see the Gators getting off the bus, then asking him if he wanted to go into the stadium and watch the walk-through.

"His eyes grew as big as saucers," Stevens said.

While Kris was watching practice, Stevens talked to Officer Robbie Freitas, who has been by Tebow's side for four years of Florida-Georgia games, and Officer P.T. Williams, who was Tebow's Little League coach.

Practice wrapped up. The rest of the players were off the field. And Tebow was about to leave, too, when the officers said something to Tebow.

He trotted over to where Kris was standing, introduced himself and said, "Do you want to play some ball, buddy?"

Ask Kris if he remembers what his reaction was and he says, "It was like in the movies when someone's jaw falls the ground."

He was wearing sandals. When he left their house on the Southside, he wasn't exactly planning to run routes and catch passes from Tim Tebow. But did he want to play some ball?

Remember what it's like to be 10? At that age, girls scared me. OK, they still scare me. But at 10, my dreams didn't yet involve Valerie Bertinelli. At 10, nothing in the world could have topped playing catch with one of the Detroit Tigers, preferably Mark Fidrych.

I remember what it's like to be 10. And apparently I'm not alone.

For the complete story, click here.

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