—Gators’ QB Tim Tebow says God, family and academics come before football

Tim Tebow; Homeschooler wins the Heisman Trophy!

(Florida Gator colors, in-case you didn’t know ;o)

This is a wonderfully encouraging story. Read ONEMOM’s posting here

GAINESVILLE— Holding the most high-profile position on the defending national championship team – making him the biggest Big Man on Campus at a football-crazed school – could easily go to the head of any college sophomore, but Tim Tebow says that football is not even the third most important thing in his life.

“I am fortunate to have family members, coaches and teammates around who can help me stay focused on the right things for us to be successful. For me, every day includes four things: God, family, academics and football, in that order,” Tebow said.

Although Tebow was the back-up quarterback last year, even as a true freshman he saw significant duty in all 14 games, including the national championship game against Ohio State, allowing him to be the team’s second-leading rusher and first with eight rushing touchdowns.
In 2007, however, Tebow is the starting quarterback and undisputed leader of the Gators in their drive to match the school’s basketball team as back-to-back national champions.

EYES ON THE PRIZE: University of Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow leads Bible studies with his teammates as they compete to keep their title as National Champions.

For Tebow, the way to deal with the pressure that comes with the territory is to ignore most of what others say about him.

“I don’t really listen too much since it’s important to stay in the middle and not get too high or too low. Florida fans are passionate and that’s what makes them great. Being cheered or criticized is all a part of sports and how everything goes in cycles,” Tebow said.

The other key in keeping balance in his life is his relationship with Christ.

Tebow grew up in a Christian family, led by missionary parents Bob and Pam Tebow. The Tebows are members of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville. He began his walk with Christ as a 6-year-old and has regularly traveled with his family during summers to the Philippines, where he was born, to lead evangelistic crusades and minister in orphanages.

Although his college commitments prevented him from going to the Philippines this summer, Tebow said the experiences of ministering there remain with him – and is something he will pursue in the future because “it is a valuable part of my life.”

Reflecting on the people he has ministered to, Tebow said, “Meeting all of those different people who have nothing and are poor gave me an appreciation for what me and my family have and provided me with the perspective of taking nothing for granted. It also allowed me to see the effect that I could have on those people. For some, the belief in Christ is all that they have and is much more important than money or material possessions.”

Majoring in family, youth and community sciences, Tebow said he is “trying to take advantage” of the educational opportunity he has at the University of Florida – the alma mater of his parents.

Although his parents have counted Florida-Georgia game as the school’s biggest rivalry, Tebow relishes UF’s rivalry against the Florida State Seminoles. It’s no surprise, then, that former Gator quarterback and 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel is Tebow’s role model, both on and off the field.

“I saw how he treated people and learned to treat everyone how I wanted to be treated,” Tebow said. “He was such a positive role model both on the field, academically and spiritually and would always make time for people by signing autographs, taking pictures with them.”

Today, Wuerffel, who quarterbacked NFL’s Washington Redskins and the New Orleans Saints, leads Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans, which seeks to rebuild impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development.

For Tebow, staying spiritually grounded includes leading a Bible study in his apartment on Sunday nights. Attended mostly by fellow football players, Tebow said the athletes “spend time talking about the Lord.”

Although Mac Brunson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, has not known Tebow very long, he is impressed with the joy and humility that marks the young man’s life.

“I really think that he has a heart full of joy,” Brunson said. “He’s always smiling. He always seems to be upbeat.”

Brunson said Tebow spoke at the church’s annual pastors’ conference last year and impressed evangelist Junior Hill who told Brunson it was “the best testimony I have ever heard from an athlete.”

Tebow’s commitment to the church was illustrated in July when he played Goliath opposite a 6-year-old boy as David in the church’s children’s musical.

“I think he just got a kick out of doing that with those children,” Brunson said.

“When I think of Tim, I think of a young man who is incredibly talented, who is sharp academically and is deep spiritually and is humble in all of it,” Brunson added.

Asked how Christians can pray for him, Tebow said that although it would be “great” if people prayed for him, “there are many other things in the world to focus upon today, especially in their own families.”

Tebow added, “I am no different than anyone else in the room, despite what people may think, because I am a Gator football player. It is important for each person to sit down and be honest about making priorities and being true to themselves.”

This article first appeared in the Florida Baptist Witness newspaper (www.FloridaBaptistWitness.com). James A. Smith Sr. is the executive editor.

In a sign of the media scrutiny and time pressure his schedule is under, Florida Sports Information staffer Zack Higbee told the Witness there were hundreds of interview requests for Tebow as the Gators prepare to defend their championship, and it was impossible to grant every one of them. The university accommodated the Witness’s interview request by submitting questions to Tebow in writing and receiving his written replies via Higbee.

Alexander The Great: NFL MVP Shaun Alexander

This article appeared in NewMan Magazine Sept. 2006

NFL MVP Shaun Alexander played in the Super Bowl and is the highest-paid running back in history. But his burning desire is to have a great impact for Christ.

 

Behind the wealth he signed an eight-year, $62 million contract in March, becoming the NFL’s highest-paid running back in history. Behind the game he scored 28 touchdowns last season, a single-season record, was named league MVP and led the Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowl XL.And behind his megawatt smile that simultaneously provokes and inspires, Shaun Alexander is a giddy little boy who used to lie awake late into the night sharing his dreams with his older brother, Durran. Unfazed. Unchanged.

Growing up, Alexander lived in a two-room apartment in Florence, Ky., where he shared a bedroom with Durran for 17 years.

“I’ve always been the one with the big dreams,” Alexander, 29, tells New Man. “The big goals. The let’s-go-to-the-moon sort of thing. My brother was the guy who says, ‘OK, this is how we’re going to do it.'”

That hasn’t changed.

Durran, one year older and Alexander’s twin look-alike, is still the organizer and put-it-to-action project manager. Just as he did when he was a kid dreaming of one day running for touchdowns in the NFL, Alexander hasn’t stopped thinking big.

The two also haven’t stopped sharing and caring. That’s the way their mother, Carol, a big-hearted woman who raised her two sons by herself, taught them to be.

After his NFL rookie year in 2000, Alexander opened a foundation in his hometown (shaunalexander.org) that gave single-parent families a hand up, providing money to pay for heating, food and housing bills.

Last year, he spent $1.8 million to buy the old YMCA building in Florence that he and his brother couldn’t play in as kids because they didn’t have enough money. Durran, a Notre Dame graduate who left a management job with the Campbell Soup Company to work for his brother’s foundation, manages the project.

Mentoring Great Leaders For the Future

In Seattle, Alexander has started a young men’s mentoring program.

“I love mentoring young men to change the world, trying to grow young men to be great leaders for the future,” says Alexander, who also helped start Club 37, a nationwide program that allows young men from every state, ages 14 to 24, to hold each other accountable for their decisions to follow Christ. “I’m all about helping young men understand they can be examples to the people around them.”

Alexander, whose parents divorced when he was in the fourth grade, sees a generation of young men growing up without a male role model because of the country’s high divorce rate.

After re-signing with Seattle, Alexander says he planned to “change this whole city forever” through his outreach to young men and hoped to partner with billionaire team owner Paul Allen.

Those who grew up with Alexander aren’t surprised he’s involved with providing role models through programs that teach leadership, character and Christianity.

“Shaun has always been a leader,” says Bob Brown, Alexander’s cousin. “He sees that there are so many who aren’t stepping up to be good fathers. He knows that if you strive to be good when you’re young, it will follow you into adulthood.”

Alexander’s male mentors in his life were his coaches, including Gene Stallings, a devoted Christian and former University of Alabama coach. But his biggest influence was his mother, who squeezed rent, food money and car payments out of her customer service job with Protector & Gamble. Somehow, Carol, though she struggled financially, always had enough to help others.

Click here to read this article in its entirety

Q & A with Indianapolis Colts Coach, Tony Dungy

Interview by Dr. Mark Rutland

The Indianapolis Colts headquarters is decidedly understated, considering it’s the news center of the most powerful professional football club in the world. Just like the Colt’s head coach, Tony Dungy. Dungy walks into the interview and greets me warmly, as if he’s my neighbor and we’re meeting at a backyard barbeque. He’s definitely not like the stereotypical, self-absorbed sports star.

Read the rest here