Tim Tebow first athlete presented “Great Floridian” award

Governor Rick Scott today presented one of the first “Great Floridian” awards to football legend Tim Tebow. The “Great Floridian” designation is given in recognition of the outstanding achievements of men and women who have made significant contributions to the progress and welfare of Florida.

Governor Rick Scott said, “It is an honor to present one of our first of 2013 ‘Great Floridian’ awards to football legend and Florida native Tim Tebow. Tim is a great role model for young athletes, and throughout his career, he has proven to be a true competitor and humanitarian. Tim is not just an athlete, he is a true example of someone who lives to serve others.  It is my distinct honor to recognize football legend, proud University of Florida Gator and humanitarian Tim Tebow with the ‘Great Floridian’ Award.”

Tim Tebow said, “I am so honored to be selected by Governor Scott for the Great Floridian award. It has always been wonderful to call Florida home.”

Only 66 individuals since 1981 have been given this distinct honor, and those honorees represent former governors, civil rights activists, military heroes, Florida Supreme Court Justices and others.

The Christian Science Monitor notes, “Tim Tebow joins a distinguished group of ‘Great Floridians,’ including Thomas Edison and Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez, but, until now, no athletes. Could it be a calculated political move by an unpopular governor in an election year?”

Tebow has become a target both on and off the football field for those who disagree with his strong moral stances on social issues.

On February 21st CNN reported, “NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has canceled an appearance at a controversial Dallas-area church. The outspoken Christian quarterback was scheduled to speak at First Baptist Church on April 28. The church is led by Robert Jeffress, who has been widely criticized for views against homosexuality, Islam and Mormonism. Tebow, announcing his decision Thursday on Twitter, said that he was canceling his appearance “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”

Sally Quinn of the Washington Post wrote in January 2012:

There was also something really annoying about how people made fun of him for being a person of faith. I can see that for some, the kneeling or “Tebowing” on the field might seem a little much. But then you see players cross themselves all the time and nobody seems to have a problem with that. If Tebow didn’t live his faith it would be another story. But he does.

Because I couldn’t watch, I picked up a book I was reading, “The Last Testament: A Memoir by God” (with David Javerbaum.) Yes, it’s a satire. I thumbed through the book and found a chapter titled “Games On Sports.” Now, before Tebow I would never have read that chapter. But I was thinking, maybe there will be something revealing in here about this Tim Tebow phenomenon.

And here I quote “God” from his memoir, 1:6. “Sport is mythic; sport is epic: sport is a condensation of all human activity; it is often said that sport is a metaphor for life; it would be more accurate to say that life is a metaphor for sports.”

This definitely got my attention so I kept on reading, even though I was still listening to the roar of the crowds as the Patriots scored another touchdown.

“As a sports fan,” continues “God” in 1:18, “ I understand how much the games mean to both other fans and the athletes: the passions they stir, the tempests they roil, the loyalties they build, and above all the rivalry, violence, and rioting they so justifiably evoke.”

What drives a lot of people crazy is the fact that so many fans (43 percent in a recent survey) actually believe that Tebow is being helped by God, that God has overseen his fabulous six game winning streak and his overtime shocker over the Steelers. Some even called that a “miracle.”

Tim Tebow is a role model in the most important way possible. He understands that what he is can only be a gift from God. Congratulations Tim! Well deserved.