Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Challenge - Have a good Cry

Hopefully we've all had a decent night's sleep, and the disappointment of the Gators' loss is starting to fade. And hopefully we can help put some perspective on it.

Dan Shanoff, of the TimTeblog, had a great piece this week which explored the various reasons Tebow came back for his senior season, and we think it's worth reviewing one more time:

Why did Tim Tebow come back to Florida for his senior year? A leading theory: Google juice. A quick track of the trending searches on Google after Saturday's win over Florida State showed "Hebrews 12:1-2" -- Tebow's eye-black for his Swamp finale -- at the very top. Tebow, his mom and Urban Meyer have all affirmed that this kind of indirect missionary influence is important to him. Consider too the spontaneous fan tribute at The Swamp, where thousands donned eye-black and set off a Super Bowl-worthy array of camera flashes as Tebow took the Gators to the end zone on his final series. What college senior wouldn't want to come back to take one class and bask in such adulation?

Those theories have a lot of merit, but now that the regular season -- despite its ups and downs on offense, ultimately a veritable victory lap -- is behind us, it's time to put away the eye-black and tuck away the memories of the farewell pep rally, because we've arrived at the other leading reason Tebow returned: To win.

We agree with Mr. Shanoff that winning was a major reason to return, but is winning the ultimate prize? We don't think so. Because off the top of our heads we can't even remember who won the National Championship in 2002, 2003, or 2004. We do remember 2006 and 2007. But who won the Heisman in 2005 or 2006?

When you measure a man's life, in terms of legacy, do you look at stats, wins, and/or awards?

We don't think so.

Looking at Google Trends for Dec 5, something interesting emerged:

1. John 16:33
2. Tim Tebow Crying
4. Taylor Haugen
18. John 16:33 King James Version
28. Danny Wuerffel

The top spot went to Tebow's eye black verse, while the second went to his "crying."

We don't think that everyone who googled John 16:33 are Christians or ardent Tebow fans. In the same way, we don't think that everyone who googled "Tim Tebow crying" are all guilty of some type of schadenfreude, while we fully acknowledge many probably are. We think both are a by product of Tim Tebow's fame and possible influence.

The real story on Google Hot Trends on Dec 5, 2009 is Taylor Haugen at number 4.

If you don't know about Taylor Haugen, he was a football player from Niceville, Fla. who dreamed of one day becoming a Gator. He died after being injured in a game and his parents formed the Taylor Haugen Foundation in his memory. Tim Tebow was in town to receive the Danny Wuerffel award and the Haugens asked Tim if he would present the inaugural Taylor Haugen trophy, which he did. In his speech Tim said, "I've got to see the last 24 hours alot of people who came in contact with Taylor, and alot of lives were changed. When my life is over I don't want people to remember about me the National Championship, the Heisman, I want them to remember the lives that I've changed. So in a way, I want to be exactly like Taylor Haugen." (Video here)

Danny Wuerffel was an inspiration and hero for Tim Tebow growing up. Tim followed Danny's example and became a hero to kids like Taylor Haugen. Taylor Haugen was an inspiration to his community and ultimately challenged Tim Tebow "to leave a legacy like he did." All three are united by their love of football, but the influence of all three has extended far beyond the field, because of their character as young men. And why do we now know Taylor Haugen's name? Because of the accomplishments and generosity of Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow.

After the game we called our grandparents because our grandfather is a Bama man, and they both unwittingly put it all into perspective for us. Our grandmother quickly said "if it's worth celebrating, it's worth crying over too" before handing the phone off to our grandfather. What he told us surprised us even more. Instead of enjoying the Bama win, he was anxious that Texas would lose because he wanted Alabama to play TCU. The reason was that his closest friend, who has terminal cancer, holds TCU's punt record. Carl Knox punted a 94 yarder against Oklahoma State in 1947. We never knew that Mr. Knox played football, in fact, it's hard to imagine him having played football at all. But his friendship with our grandfather and what he has meant to our family is immeasurable. It is telling that two lifelong friends would relish their teams going up against each other one last time.

Football is something we share with both our friends and with our rivals, and often they are one and the same. The details of the games fade over time. The records, the wins and the losses are forgotten in the collective memory. But the things of life that are both worth celebrating and crying over endure. And that is the stuff that legacy is made of.

In the post game Tebow was asked the following (Video):

Q. Tim, among others, you have Taylor Haugen's bracelet on. Is it times like these when those relationships, those messages really affect you a lot?

TIM TEBOW: Absolutely. It puts things into perspective. Obviously, I'm emotional, as you can see, after games, and it means a lot to me. But at the end of the day it's not really what matters. Stories like that and people like that, that's what matters. That's why you can walk away holding your head high because of things like that. And we're playing a game -- although it is extremely important and it's fun, and we put hours and days and weeks into it, you know, it's still just a game. And that's why it's not life or death and it's not the biggest thing in the world. Although we do care about it a lot, there are a lot of things more important.

We've always found it strange that no one is afraid or embarrassed to celebrate a win, but for some reason it's "unmanly" to mourn a loss. If it's worth celebrating, it's worth crying over. Crying is good for you. It relieves stress and makes you feel better. We all know this, but still fight it in ourselves and try to stifle it in boys. Despite the jeering, we hope that Tim becomes a positive example in this as well. And believe it or not, the "benefits of crying" has more web space than even Tebow.

Google "Tim Tebow" and you'll get about 2,020,000 hits for tim tebow

Google "benefits of crying" and you'll get 11,400,000 hits for benefits of crying

We salute you Tim. Thank you for your example and thank you for leaving it all on the field. Thank you for your unabashed faith, and to be willing to take the shots as a result. Thank you for your passion, expressed in both your enthusiasm and your tears. Thank you for your example in how to be open, how to seize the day, and how to live life to the fullest. Thank you for being a Gator. And thank you for challenging our campus, city, state, and nation on what it means to be a Christian. And may God continue to richly bless you.

Go Gators!

Photos: Gainesville Sun

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