Tuesday, November 29, 2011

“You’ve been Tebow’ed”

 Come visit me at my new home, www.TheMSRP.com 

For the uninformed, being Tebow’ed means that you have lost a competition to an opponent who seemingly had less ability but more desire than you.  To be a perfect Tebow’ing, the defeat typically occurs in the final stages of the competition.  A loss when you are Tebow’ed is doubly painful, since it was so unexpected.  Being Tebow’ed is embarrassing.  Nobody wants to be Tebow’ed.  You want to be the Tebow’er, not the Tebow’ee.  In the end, however, you’ve got to tip your cap to someone who Tebow’s you.

The origin of this phrase comes from the former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from Florida, now Denver Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow.  Some have argued that he was the greatest college player of this generation, but sadly, he may be better known for his pro-life, pro-Jesus Super Bowl commercial in 2010.  High profile athletes have been invoking Jesus as their co-pilot for decades, but Tim took his public expressions of faith outside the standard press conference and into the echo chamber of the commercial world.  In college, he was very good in both body and soul, and he wasn’t afraid for everyone to know it. 
During his brief tenure in the NFL, he has been written off as lacking any professional level talent by just about every knowledgeable football source, and he has responded to that criticism with a 5-1 record as a starter, including playing chief engineer and butt kicker for a few improbable 4th quarter comebacks.  Not bad for a guy “lacking any professional level talent”.  The sports media has been Tebow’ed. 

Tebow is controversial beyond the debate over his physical talents.  His sports success has increased the size of his Sunday congregation, and he has no problems delivering a sermon (now if he could only deliver a 10 yard out with the same zip).  The War on Tebow is replacing the War on Christmas as the crusade of choice in right wing circles.  Any attack on the former Florida QB, including a questioning of his arm strength and in-pocket decision-making, is an attack on religious freedom and the very foundations of Christianity.
There is a legitimate case against his unprovoked proselytizing during interviews.  I do recall a New Testament passage about the Pharisee who goes to temple, walks to the front, beats his breast, and generally makes a show of his piety, while an old woman comes into the same temple, sits in the back, and prays with great humility.  The lesson is taught that it is the old woman who should be the role model for us.  Do not wear your faith on your sleeve.  It is also true that the Bible says we should proclaim the Good News from the mountaintop.  Tebow seems to have heard and embraced the latter message, and not the former.
Among sports fans I don’t sense an anti-Christian bias as much as a healthy skepticism towards athletes who wear God on their sleeves.  Up until Tebow-mania, the professional athlete most likely to invoke the Lord during their post-game comments usually had something to hide, like multiple kids with different women or other such “lapses of judgment” (aka - arrests).  It never seemed sincere.  It seemed like marketing strategy.  Tebow’s genuineness catches us off guard, and we don’t know how to react.

Personally, I’m happy for the guy, and could care less about his PDFs (Public Displays of Faith).  Everyone thought he would be an NFL bust, and at least so far, he has proven the pundits to be wrong.  America loves an underdog, and Tebow entered the league with little hope of playing the QB position, at least not as a starter and certainly not with any success.  He is winning, he has been rewarded with the pulpit, so I say enjoy it as long as the microphone is in your face.  We all know that in 15 minutes, it could be taken away for good, and Tebow could become another cautionary tale instead of the Feel-Good Story of 2011.

For now, to Tebow is to win in spite of the odds.  To be Tebow’ed is to lose against all reason.  To pivot this to politics, as I often do, Romney is getting Tebow’ed this week, while Gingrich is supplying the Tebow’ing.

Newt is the GOP’s Tebow of the Month, replacing Cain who replaced Perry who replaced Bachmann (Perry, Cain and Bachmann, as an interesting side note, all declared publicly that God told them to run for President.  How very Tebow of them.).  The experts said Gingrich couldn’t play at this level, and ultimately, they may be right.  The GOP franchise will continue to search for a long term solution inside their huddle, but in the meantime, Gingrich is winning some games.  As long as he holds onto the ball, keeps the defense guessing and doesn’t fumble, they’ll withhold their reservations.

Could the GOP contenders transform their own personas into verbs like Tebow?  What would that sound like?

“You’ve been Gingrich’ed.” – means your significant other broke up with you on your birthday, Valentine’s Day, during an extended hospital stay, or other such vulnerable time in your life.

“You’ve been Bachmann’ed.” – means you failed your AP American History exam.

“You’ve been Paul’ed.” – means you’ve disappeared.

“You’ve been Santorum’ed.” – means…don’t Google this one.  Probably not family-friendly…

“You’ve been Perry’ed.” – means you were shot at while jogging.

“You’ve been Cain’ed.” – means you didn’t get the job you had interviewed for, but you aren’t exactly sure why.

“You’ve been Romney’ed.” – means you believed whatever you were told, when all evidence pointed to the contrary.

Of course, I could play this game all day:

“You’ve been Biden’ed.” – means you were forced to attend a multi-day conference or other comparable corporate meeting at the Scranton Pennsylvania Best Western, where the pool was closed by the Health Department and the complimentary continental breakfast consisted of instant eggs and week-old glazed doughnuts.

“You’ve been Kardashian’ed.” – means you woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and thought, “Does this make my ass look big?”

“You’ve been NBA’ed.” – means you’re pregnant, but not sure who the father is.

“You’ve been MSRP’ed.” – means you were entertained by thoughtful prose, challenged by riveting and relevant commentary, and drenched in snarky sarcasm.

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