Tim Tebow hit a home run in his first professional at bat. Of course he did.
That’s how mythologies are made. (Sure his home run was in unimportant instructional league game, but we’re still talking professional baseball here.)
But since this is a blog about screenwriting, let’s look at Tebow’s life so far from a dramatic standpoint. Let’s see if it appears if Tebow is on track to reach the status of Zeus and Paul Bunyan (or at least Chuck Norris) some day.
Movies are about heightened reality. Or as Carson Reeves at Scriptshadow wrote it’s about the best or worst day or time in a character’s life. Now most people don’t have a “bomb on a bus” moment, but everyone has a special day or two in their lives.
Before reaching the age of 30 Tebow has more than his share of special moments:
—As a college freshman his team won a national championship.
—As a sophomore at the University of Florida he was the starting quarterback as the Gators won another National Championship. Oh, and he won the Heisman Trophy as the best player in off of college football. He was the first college sophomore to ever win the Heisman.
—By the time his college career was over he held SEC all-time records in both career passing efficiency and total rushing touchdowns.
—He was a first round draft pick of the Denver Broncos.
—His NFL career was short lived, but he did throw the winning touchdown in a playoff game to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers. John Elway said that without Tebow helping to elevate the team that ear they would have never signed Payton Manning. Last year Manning was the starting QB as the Broncos won the Super Bowl.
—Tebow turned to making a living as a broadcaster on the ESPN-owned SEC Network. (A job that alone would be impressive without all his other accomplishments.)
—Tebow sightings are more command these days that Elvis sightings. His doing missionary work in the Philippines one day, then praying for a man on a plane who had a heart attack, and yet on another day he’s in an Orlando hospital after the Pulse shooting to comfort a friend & former teammate who was a bartender at Pulse during the tragic terrorist shooting in last June.
Now he’s trying to become a Major League Baseball player after not playing since he was a three sport star in high school. And he’s the oldest player in instructional league. The odds are against Tebow having a MLB career, or even playing a game in the big leagues (aside from a George Plimpton/Paper Lion-like experiment). I wouldn’t bet on Tebow as a baseball player, but I wouldn’t bet against him in this case.
I always appreciated basketball great Michael Jordon trying his hand at baseball even though the odds were way against him. I even went to late spring training game at Wriggly Field in Chicago to watch Jordan and the White Sox play the Cubs. Though Jordan failed in that endeavor, he came back to professional basketball with renewed passion and helped the Chicago Bulls win three more championships.
The take away for us mere mortals is even the great ones, the accomplished ones, are not afraid of failure. And since this is my third Florida-centered post this week it’s probably as good a time as any to toss in a quote from one of the greatest surfers of all-time, and one born and raised in the Sunshine State:
“When there’s a generational change, there’s a change in the way things are done. And people who are stuck in their ways and don’t want to see change are the first ones to be vocal about it. And I feel totally supportive because I’m still trying to take my surfing to different levels and that’s exciting for me. Because, honestly, there were times when I first got on tour that I was bored with the level of surfing. And I’d much rather be getting my ass kicked than being bored.”
Interview by Matt Walker
The 44-year-old Slater is currently in his 27th year as a pro surfer. And even though he’s having his worst year ever, he still wins occasionally.
I heard it said on a podcast recently (by I forget who) that “people will respect your strength, but they will connect with you in your weakness.”
Slater, Jordan, and Tebow are not perfect human beings—or even athletes—but we can admire their accomplishments, and be inspired as how they push themselves.
In an election year here in the U.S. where picking a presidential candidate is like triage— now would be an ideal time for Tebow to walk away from is Major League Baseball dreams and, say, run for President of the United States. Who would doubt that he’d be more likable that the current candidates?
Scott W. Smith