Friday, December 12, 2008

Tim Tebow and UF's Win over 'Bama

My friend, Sam, a sold-out Gator, sent me the following. It is an email of a post somewhere, circulating among Gator fans and written by a 'Bama fan.

"What I saw in Atlanta"

I saw the third quarter. I saw Tebow get sacked. I saw Florida go 3 and out. I saw the Tide go 91 yards in workman like fashion. I saw a helpless UF defense. I saw Bama tie the game. I saw UF respond by missing their only FG of the season. I saw Bama march again. I saw a UF team that was beat. I saw a defense with hands on hips gasping for breath getting absolutely trucked. I saw an Alabama team rolling downhill through Gator players. I saw the UF players give all that they had left to keep Bama out of the end zone. I saw the Tide take the lead heading into the 4th quarter. I saw the end of a championship dream.

No way could the UF defense recover from the extended pounding they had just endured. With two DTs out there was simply no reserve left to call upon to stem the Tide. All that had been claimed pregame by the Crimson and White faithful about how their lines would wear UF down and control the game had come true. There was no hope.

And then things changed. I saw Tebow rally his offensive teammates and take them down the field. Run after run after run after run after run and they had Bama on their heels at their own 27. A throw a run and a throw and Tim has UF on the doorstep. Two more runs and Demps is leaping in the endzone. Florida has wrested the lead away and hope is reborn, dreams live again.

But this was not enough. Tebow leads this team, this university, not just its offense. He comes down the sideline toward the end zone where the Gator fans are thickest and exhorts them to cheer, to roar, to believe. He turns and runs to the special team players huddled for the upcoming kick. He slams into their huddle like a bowling ball knocking aside so many pins. He urged them to make the stop, to finish the play. And they did. He turns to the bench and gets in the face of his defensive teammates and makes his will theirs. He inspires them, he challenges them, he leads them. They face the same Bama players who had owned them in the third quarter, who had worn them down and controlled them. They faced those same Bama players and they stuffed them. Julio Jones who had tormented the Gators all afternoon saw a pass come his way only to have Joe Haden drill him so that the ball fell harmlessly to the ground. Julio would never see another pass. They held the line and stopped Coffee for a short gain. They crushed the line that had moved them at will and finally sacked Wilson. With the game on the line they had stuffed Bama for a 3 and out.

Then Tim Tebow went out to win himself and the University of Florida a championship. Two runs and it was 3rd and short. Tebow keeps it, meets Mount Cody in the hole and carries all 360 pounds of him for the first down. Tebow throws for 33, Tebow throws for 15, Tebow runs for 5. Bama is done. Tebow throws the last five yards to Riley Cooper on a pass that had no room for imprecision resulting in the TD that made dreams into reality. I have never seen a single player so impose his will on both his teammates, his opponents and the crowd as Tim Tebow did in that fourth quarter. I am in awe. His teammates understand. Carl Moore: "You knew he was going to lead us to victory," Louis Murphy: "I have never doubted him. He's our quarterback." Jeff Demps: "That's Tim Tebow. That's what he does, He's been putting us on his shoulders ever since the Ole Miss game, but I've never seen him like he was today." His opponents understand too. Rashad Johnson: "He kept those guys motivated. He kept them in the game when they had the opportunity to give up and wouldn't let them." Terrence Cody: "You give him a chance, and he's going to beat you,"

He's not Superman. He's not unbeatable. But he will never give less than everything he has and he will never shy away from a challenge. He is the best team leader I have ever seen in college sports. He willed a victory for UF, not on his own, but by giving his teammates the strength to believe and an example to follow. And that they did.

Posted on 12/8 4:34 PM | IP: Logged

Sam, who is not a Christian but a member of a reformed Jewish Synagogue, has been coming to our Friday morning Bible Study/Breakfasts for quite some time. He knows that Tebow is a Christian. He observed this morning that Tebow is the third great quarterback at Florida who was the son of a Presbyterian minister. Sam knows that Tebow's facepaint on game-day has a scripture reference: Philippians 4:13. I read him that scripture this morning.

Sam mentioned the movie Hoosiers and the scene where, before the state championship game, one of the members of the team is kneeling in prayer, and the coach is trying to get him up and onto the court. The young man, whose father is a minister, finally gets up, with a big smile on his face. He tells the coach, according to Sam's recollection, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me." Sam said that he could not explain what happened to Tebow in the fourth quarter of the game with Alabama except to say that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Tebow, and Sam wanted Russ and me (there were only three of us there this morning) to explain what that meant.

And we did. We discussed what the prophet Joel wrote about the Spirit being promised to God's people, about Pentecost being the fulfillment of that prophesy, after Jesus having been crucified, raised from the dead, and ascending to heaven, and how Peter discussed the matter of the Spirit in the second chapter of Acts, making reference to Joel's prophesy, we in every case reading from Scripture. We also read the account of Paul's conversion in Acts and of what the rabbi Gamaliel (with whom Sam is familiar) said to the Sanhedrin that had brought Peter and John before it: that if the Way was not of God, it would collapse of itself, but if it was of God, there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.

At the risk of sounding foolish, I believe the Spirit of the Lord was on Tebow for such a time as this. Sam believes it, and that may be the key to his heart.


Jane said...

I was very excited to read your post this morning. Earlier I received this message from a service I subscribe to. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Jane said...

I was very excited to read your post. Here is the message I received this morning from a service I subscribe to. Coincidence? I don't think so.

Kellsey said...

AWESOME!!! SO exciting to read this post, Paul!