Archives for December 2011

Unanswerable questions about life: #327

On a rainy day for trash collection like today, how much extra effort would the garbageman actually have to exert in order to close the lid on the can after it’s been emptied?

The inspiration of Tim Tebow

Yesterday I pondered “The mystery of Tim Tebow“.

The page views on my blog increased exponentially, so it shouldn’t be a great mystery as to what I’ll write about today.

What else? Tim Tebow. After all, he’s a very hot topic.

First, a personal disclaimer: over a four year period, Tim Tebow was my worst nightmare. I am an avid Georgia Bulldog fan, class of 1983.

Go Dawgs! Sic ’em…woof, woof.

So writing about the greatness of Tim Tebow as a football player is not something that comes naturally to me. But there’s no debate that while at Florida, he was a great player as well as a great person of faith. Only question remains about his long term ability to compete in the NFL.

Even I (the avid Bulldog fan) have to admit that Tebow is a competitor with few equals and a Christian with sincere integrity.

Let’s face it…if you consider yourself a Christian, it sucks when he’s not on your team.

Because it’s impossible to hate Tim Tebow. However, I hated what he did to my Bulldogs.

Whether you love Tebow or hate him, not many people would assert that he isn’t authentic about his Christian faith.

While I hate to be one to jump on the bandwagon of Tebow the player after four years of abject misery he caused me to have — well, three, we did win one of the four years — yet I cannot help but notice that as the glare of attention and scrutiny on him grows, he is beginning to inspire more  people.

In fact, the new fad to replace the dangerous practice of  “planking” is called “Tebowing“, meaning to take a knee and bow your head in reverence or silent prayer.

There’s even a special “Tebowing” Fathead of Tim Tebow in action…or inaction, as the case may be.

Presidential candidate Rick Perry admits he wants to be like Tim Tebow in the Iowa primary.

Now ESPN has reported that a high school in Long Island suspended four athletes for “Tebowing” in the hall between periods. One of the four suspended students, Connor Carroll, was interviewed after his suspension and asked why he participated.

Carroll said,

Basically I took part in this to show tribute to Tim Tebow. He’s an ideal role model. He’s a winner. He’s a leader. He has great faith. He’s the perfect guy to follow after.

A noble gesture to be sure, but I’m not sure that was the ideal place to be making it.

The reaction by school officials was to suspend the four student athletes determined to be the ringleaders for wanting to follow in Tebow’s footsteps.

In fairness, it probably was as much a stunt by the students to gain attention as it was a genuine tribute to Tebow.

Critics of the students have suggested student safety was the reason for the disciplinary action.

Superintendent Nancy Carney said as much, claiming the suspensions were issued for “clogging the hallway.”

But why suspensions without any prior warning? Wasn’t that a bit…excessive? (a couple of the four suspensions were later rescinded.)

But the word excessive seems inadequate to describe the fact that Carney claims to have received hate mail from people accusing her of prejudice against religion. Hate mail which she admits has been unsettling.

“It’s a shame that people out there are so ready to judge,” she said.

Indeed.

I have learned not to judge my atheist friends too quickly, solely based on their lack of faith in my God.

I’m not trying to imply that Ms. Carney is an atheist by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I believe it relevant. I do think in the case of these suspensions, the punishment didn’t fit the crime, but that’s no justification or excuse for being hateful toward the administrators.

And think about it — hate mail from people who claim to be Christian?

Is that  “What Would Jesus Do?”

Ask yourself,,,,would Tim Tebow send hate mail, or would he kneel and pray for the teachers? (Not blocking the hallway, of course.)

The mystery of Tim Tebow

After Tebow led the Denver Broncos to victory over Miami in his first game as an NFL starting quarterback, Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby was heard on Jim Rome’s radio show to say:

Us losing to Tim Tebow the way we did, we seen it first hand. Young man is blessed. Young man has a special anointing on him. And for God to show himself in that game the way He did, through the guy He did it through, it opened a lot of guys’ eyes on our team. And it brought a lot of guys closer to God, so like I said, everything happens for a reason. . . . My hat goes off to Tim. And God working through him like that, it opened up a lot of eyes. He’s a blessed young man and I wish him much success the rest of his career.

ESPN’s Jemele Hill opined that Detroit players were “disrespecting his faith” during the Lion’s blowout win in his second week as Denver’s starting quarterback. Players openly mocked Tebow in the course of the game, pretending to pray after a sack or a score.

Since that game, the Broncos record is 5-0 while the Lions have gone 2-3.

Just pointing out the obvious.

So…what is the big deal about Tim Tebow?

This absolutely fascinating, sometimes heated debate between Stephen A. Smith, Cris Carter, and Skip Bayless about whether Tebow’s Christian beliefs influence the outcome of football games on ESPN’s First Take can be found at the link below.

The Tebow Debate

In the course of argument, all three men profess to sharing Tebow’s Christian faith. Each analyst thinks he knows the “logical” explanation why the Broncos are 7-1 with Tebow as their starter.

Stephen A. Smith half-jokingly claimed there is a valid argument for divine intervention, because Tebow’s skill set simply isn’t good enough to win in the NFL.

Carter credited Tebow’s teammates. saying the defense keeps them competitive just long enough for the team to win using some late game magic.

Skip Bayless argued that Tebow’s faith does give him a competitive edge, a point that seemed to offend Cris Carter.

Carter was known as a leader and for his Christian beliefs during his career for the Minnesota Vikings. His argument seems valid — why would God bless Tebow with wins he doesn’t deserve when the Vikings hadn’t been similarly blessed during his playing days?

The exchanges were contentious but cordial, at least toward each other.

However, Tebow was savaged, described using words like “anemic”, “limited skill set”, and “not good enough to be an NFL starter.”

Yet his record is 7-1 as the starting QB. Prior to his promotion. the team was 1-4.

In my opinion, all three analysts were right to a certain degree.

But none of them are completely correct.

Clearly, Tebow does not have the same skill set in terms of mechanics as a passer of a typical NFL quarterback. He does not possess the throwing arm of a Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or even a Matthew Stafford or Matt Ryan.

So Smith was right.

On the other hand, Tebow is 7-1 as the starter. It’s tough to deny that he has been good enough for at least an eight game stretch.

True, the defense and running game have contributed mightily. So Cris Carter was also right.

Just not completely right.

To say Tebow doesn’t inspire his teammates is to ignore what his own receivers have said.

As reported at the link above, obviously Tebow leads his team by inspiration and determination.

Therefore, Bayless was also right.

Still, he neglected to point out that “the Tebow effect” is not limited to his own team. Evidently, the authenticity of his Christian faith tends to psyche out the opposing defense, if the words of Karlos Dansby are believed.

One could conceivably argue that the Dolphins fell prey to the principle of Gamaliel more than the late game theatrics of Tim Tebow.

On the other hand, Brian Urlacher joked that Tebow was a “good running back” after the Bears played Tebow and the Broncos last weekend. This was after Tebow torched the vaunted Bear defense in the fourth quarter and OT by going 18-24 for 191 yards and a TD.

Sour grapes, Brian?

Obviously, Tebow had the last laugh….Broncos 13, Bears 10.

What should we make of all the controversy surrounding Tim Tebow?  Do I think God cares if the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl?

Absolutely not.

However, I have to believe God loves Tim Tebow.

I also believe God loves Cris Carter, Karlos Dansby and me.

Personally, I wouldn’t be the least bit upset to see Denver win it all.

Just think of the entertainment value, to see the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the Tebow haters.

Georgia fans don’t deserve coach Mark Richt

We Georgia Bulldog fans don’t deserve our football coach.

After his only losing season in a decade of multiple SEC championships and an incredible overall winning percentage, critical remarks by Internet rabble became more frequent.

Some fans openly called for his firing. They looked at Alabama, Florida and LSU and declared our program could no longer compete.

But now Florida is in decline.

True, Alabama and LSU are about to play for the national championship. LSU beat us for the SEC championship, fair and square.

Well, mostly fair.

Because it’s also true that those two programs are champions of “oversigning“, a legal but highly questionable practice where players awarded scholarships do not have them renewed when better players become available.

By contrast, Mark Richt has a reputation for honoring four year commitments, sometimes to his detriment in the past because his discipline was believed too lax. He gave players more than one chance, even if they weren’t superstars.

I believe it is because the coach takes seriously his responsibility to shape these teenagers into men, not just football players.

That should be to his credit.

The programs at Alabama and LSU are not run like typical college programs. They operate more like minor league NFL teams, complete with roster cuts for under-performing players.

The coaches use more pleasant euphemisms such as “attrition” and “medical hardship” which happens at every school, but a cut is a cut.

And “conveniently” for Saban and Miles, there always happens to be players on campus available to replace those who just left the team for whatever reason.

At Alabama, sometimes the player dismissed from the team didn’t even realize he was injured too severely to compete.

By contrast, Richt honored a scholarship to a player he knew had been severely injured while still in high school. When that same player transferred to Virginia Tech, it was by his own choice, not because he’d been shown the door.

Some might call the practice of oversigning “cheating”, except it’s currently legal. The NCAA hasn’t put a stop to it because they apparently don’t want to do anything that might upset Nick Saban. They should penalize any school who signs more players than their current roster allows.

Who knows? Saban might quit and go back to the NFL again.

Probably not, though. It’s highly unlikely the city of Miami would erect a statue of Saban on South Beach for winning a single championship.

Conversely to the practice of oversigning, Mark Richt has never signed 25 players when he knows only 17 scholarships are available. He has this thing called…integrity.

Yet knowing all of this, and about his overall record and character, I temporarily deserted the coach after the loss to Boise State.

I could no longer muster the energy to defend losing, not when the team appeared to show no heart.

However, by the following week against South Carolina, I saw a different team.

Except for correctable mistakes like turnovers and allowing trick plays to succeed, we should have won that game.

Then for the next ten games, we did win, making for the longest winning streak of Mark Richt’s coaching career.

The Junkyard Dawg defense is fearsome once again.

Even after losing to LSU in a blowout in the championship game, Athletic Director Greg McGarity has appropriately begun negotiations with coach Richt for a long term contract extension.

Coincidentally, or not, the announcement came the same weekend that eleven high profile football recruits targeted for next year’s freshman class are visiting Athens. Sending these young men a strong message that their coach will be there for a long time to come is a very reassuring and timely one.

As well as very self-serving.

The program needs quality players and won’t hesitate to use Richt as the main attraction for them, now that perceptions about the program are again on the rise. So we’re cynically using our coach’s rebirth to talk contract extension for our recruiting advantage.

Fortunately for UGA, Mark Richt remains the same man or an even better one than we thought Vince Dooley brought in to coach more than a decade ago.

In spite of what most people would consider ill treatment by “fair weather” fans, his loyalty to the school remains unquestionable.

According to the AJC, as recently as last week he said,

It’s too hard emotionally for me to recruit guys and look them in the eye and say, ‘I’m going to be your coach,’ and knowing deep down, maybe, if something better comes along I’m leaving. I just didn’t ever want to operate that way. So Georgia’s my home and my family’s home.

I guess those rumors about Texas A&M aren’t even worth mentioning.

Considering our fickle support, Georgia Bulldog fans don’t deserve Mark Richt.

But I’m really glad he’s our coach, and will be for a long time to come.

Performance art

A friend of mine directed me to this video I thought I’d share. It’s a performance by artist Michael Israel as he creates the painting “Hero” in New York.

 

You’ll realize how amazing the finished product is after you’ve watched the process by which the painting was created. I wouldn’t want this guy to paint the interior of my house, but I’d love to buy a piece of his artwork or at least to watch him work in person.

Enjoy!