Even though I live in Colorado, I’m not really a Broncos Fan. It has nothing to do with the Broncos: I’m a silently suffering Chicago Bears Fan. I think it has to do with the fact that I lived in Illinois for most of my life. I remember sitting with my dad and having him explain football to me when I was in 7th grade because the boy who sat in front of my in one of my classes played football and I had a huge crush on him. I remember the Super Bowl Shuffle, the Fridge and Walter Payton. I hope someday they will again demonstrate that they are a world-class team.
As we watched the Patriots and the Broncos play, the guys in my house were rooting for the Patriots and I was indifferent. Why did they root for the Patriots? Chris just didn’t want the Broncos to win. He doesn’t think that the team deserves to go to the Super Bowl because they haven’t played well. They have just been lucky. The boys, well, their reasoning for rooting for the Patriots is much more complicated. They are sick of the fervor regarding Tebow’s Christianity.
Tebow isn’t really at fault. He really seems like a decent guy. His Foundation does good work. He spends time talking with fans. He does not seem to have a celebrity complex. He has the right to his religious beliefs and to display them in public, if he wishes. These are not the issues that have my boys disliking Tebow. They dislike the media attention to his religious beliefs. They dislike the commentary that his personal relationship with G-d is responsible for his successes on the football field. Honestly, I agree with them.
Today, it seems quiet. The media hasn’t had much to write about regarding Tebow and the Broncos loss in a religious context. That suits me just fine.
Truly, the media coverage of Tebow’s religious beliefs puzzles me. Yes, he is an amazing role model (Christian or not) and his religious upbringing and beliefs are a part of who he is. But to take it to the extreme and say that G-d is great because of Tebow’s successes, seems to me to insult the work that Tebow has put in to be the professional athelete he is. Personally, I don’t believe that a higher power has a hand in our individual lives. But if G-d does, then why did the Broncos lose yesterday?
It seems to me, that if a higher power does have an interest and has power over our daily lives, that the Broncos have come back from behind and won the game. But they were slaughtered by the Patriots. I don’t care for the media interference in Tebow’s personal relationship with G-d. Yes, I realize that he thanks G-d on the field. But isn’t that his right? And he isn’t the first player to do so. The media focus on Tebow’s display of religious beliefs on the field has alienated my family. Let me be clear, I don’t think that this alienation is because of Tebow’s beliefs and display of those beliefs; it is because of the media attention to those beliefs. CBS Denver had an article about Tebow and his faith and if it mixes with football. The article stated that the questions and dialogue that has come as a result of Tebow’s beliefs is probably a good thing. I don’t disagree. Would society be as accepting if Tebow were Muslim, Jewish or a Pastafarian? While I hate to admit it, I think that general feelings towards a professional athlete who displayed his (or her) religious beliefs as openly as Tebow, who was not Christian, would be scorn and prejudice, rather than the respect and admiration that has surrounded Tebow.
It is unfortunate that we have come so far as a society in some things (such as acceptance of those with disabilities) and yet, have not moved forward in the area of religious beliefs.