by Mike Moffett
Weirs Times Columnist
Sports Illustrated recently ran a big baseball story on a Class A, South Atlantic League, minor leaguer toiling away for the Columbus Fireflies.
With the countless sports stories percolating and countless teams dreaming of priceless SI attention, how did SI come to run such a feature?
The answer is that the subject of the story is the most famous baseball minor leaguer since a dude named Michael Jordan batted .202 for Terry Francona’s 1994 Birmingham Barons.
That subject was Tim Tebow.
Tebow played on a couple of national championship football teams at the University of Florida and won the 2007 Heisman Trophy. He led the 2011 Denver Broncos into the playoffs and stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers with an overtime TD pass. But the Broncos traded him to the New York Jets and Tebow never started another NFL game. The New England Patriots cut him during the 2013 pre-season.
But what made Tebow especially newsworthy was his very public affirmation of his Christianity—for which he endured endless ridicule and countless slings and arrows from, well, the “unchurched.”
I’ve never understood how so many in American society can preach about tolerance and inclusion while a brave and successful Christian warrior like Tebow is subjected to so many snarky comments. Here’s a guy who honors traditional family values and never attacks anyone, and yet, judging from so much hostile commentary, one would think he represents a danger to the republic.
Tebow’s many philanthropic endeavors include supporting the Shands Hospital pediatric cancer center in Gainesville while also raising funds for an orphanage and a new hospital in the Philippines—where Tebow was born.
While the 21st Century features wondrous technological achievements and major social progress on many fronts, it’s also seen a major decline in the practice of organized religion. The percentage of self-proclaimed atheists has skyrocketed. But our country is richer for the wonderful work done by the faith-based community and the likes of the Salvation Army, Tebow Charities, Catholic Charities, etc.
Who do “Atheist Charities” help?
President Bill Clinton famously promised to “build a bridge to the 21st Century” during the 1996 campaign—whatever that meant. His opponent, Bob Dole, conversely celebrated traditional American values.
I was in San Diego for Dole’s nomination, and will never forget his acceptance speech.
“Let me be the bridge to an America that only the unknowing call myth. Let me be the bridge to a time of tranquility, faith and confidence in action. And to those who say it was never so, that America’s not been better, I say you’re wrong. And I know because I was there. And I have seen it. And I remember.
“After decades of assault upon what made America great, upon supposedly obsolete values, what have we reaped? What have we created? What do we have? What we have in the opinions of millions of Americans is crime and drugs, illegitimacy, abortion, the abdication of duty, and the abandonment of children.
“And after the virtual devastation of the American family, the rock upon which this country was founded, we are told that it takes a village—that is collective, and thus the state—to raise a child.”
I like Bob Dole.
And I like Tim Tebow.
What year did the NCAA Frozen Four ice hockey finals include UNH and UMaine? (Answer follows)
Born Today …
That is to say, sports standouts born on June 1 include Baltimore Colt running back Alan “the Horse” Ameche (1933) and Minnesota Twins pitcher Dean Chance (1941).
“My golf score seems to improve considerably when I have the score card.” – Anonymous
The 1999 University of Maine ice hockey Black Bears won the NCAA championship by beating Boston College 2-1 in overtime in the semifinal and then archrival New Hampshire 3-2 in overtime in the championship game in Anaheim, California.
State Representative Michael Moffett was a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.