One fan's account of seeing Tebow at his first autograph signing day in Jacksonville.
I have a love for all things Tebow so, of course, when I heard he was coming to the mall 5 miles from my house I was going to jump on that oppertunity. I know some people have a problem with him charging so much for signings and photos but I do not. He has to "make hay while the sun shines" and you know being Tim that he's going to use some of that money for the good of others.
I was somewhat afraid after my Senior Bowl experience that it might turn out to be Senior Bowl 2.0--waiting in line at the Mobile Convention Center for 4 hours only to be told Tim was sick and would not be at the signing. As I walked into the mall and saw the line that wrapped from one end of the mall to the other, I thought that thought may not be too far off. I did feel a slight queasiness when I saw the line at the Avenues Mall but set out to find the end of the line..and the right line to be in as there were two.
We got into one that we were told was the line for autographs and photos. This didn’t end up being the case as half way into the wait we found out that this line was for autographs only and the other line was for photos. So the waiting continued...it was awesome seeing so many "15" shirts. And the look on the faces of people who didn't know what was going on and that Tim was there was priceless!
After about 3-31/2 hours of standing in line, I got my first glance of Tim. Needless to say he was smiling and engaging every one..and i could see this from outside of the store.
My mom was kind enough to accompany me on my Tim time so we entered the store and Tim was sitting at a table..I will say there was a lot of commotion in a store the size of a large walk in closet..so it was like my head was on a swivel stick looking around, and knowing that I was about to meet Tim for the first time which was making me shake like at leaf. As I stood there I was thinking how I could have been saved from all this drama if only I had stopped him in church, where we both go, and said hi. Robbie was the first one I saw at the door and I said hi to him..he had a nice smile I must say..I'm short so I peaked at Tim with the person in front of me still speaking to him. About that time someone took my magazine to be signed. Next thing I know I’m face to face with "Superman," and he was smiling that amazing smile at me..I saw that he had already signed my magazine which I wish I could of seen him do, but that smile made it all better!
He shook my hand and thanked me for coming..I know I wasn't very verbal but nonetheless he held onto my hand, and I remember thinking his hands are so warm and huge..while mine are clammy and cold!
I managed to say "well I'll see you on the other side" (the photograph line)...Wasn't that just brilliant! We were about to walk away and he took my mom's hand to shake it...oh she's now mesmerized! Ha! I will say I noticed an amazing gift that he has to look everyone in the eye and make you feel totally like you are the only one who matters.
With the autograph done it was back to the end of the next line that was still more than two-thirds the length of the mall. I am going to need new feet if I do many more to these! This time it took about 21/2 hours to get to the front of the line. Mom had long since abandoned me for the comfort of a bench so I was on my own.
Again, I saw Robbie as I entered the store. This time Tim was standing with a white backdrop and the Heisman in front of him. This too went so fast, next thing I knew I was standing next to him..shaking of course..I remember his arm around me (which is not a bad thing!) and I felt very short..which I am but he's a giant.
In a second the picture was taken, and I was wanting something witty and memorable to say but yet again I was almost mute...This is sad because I'm very chatty in everyday life! I managed to get out "I'll see you at Lipscomb" (where he will be speaking in April) to which he smiled and said "Oh yeah, that will be fun." Not exactly how I had pictured things going in my mind, but with 30 seconds it's hard to be fabulously charming..unless you're Tim that is.
So I left with my picture receipt in my hand and found mom. We decided to wait on the picture..we probably should of come back, but really I couldn't show up to church where all my friends were expecting a masterpiece empty handed!
After 2 more hours, with picture in hand, we finally left the mall. I was so tired but tried to be thankful that I nearby since the people in line behind me had a 3 hour drive home.
It was a great day overall. Tim didn't disappoint and it wasn't Senior Bowl 2.0. I only hope when I see him again in Nashville I will have found that witty person who was hiding this time!