Paulette Delcourt: Tebowing In The Burbs

Parsing out the details of a small but controversial show of faith and franchise.

Can someone please tell me what the big deal is with Tim Tebow and his bow?

I can’t understand how a small and simple gesture or two can bring a man such intense celebrity and scrutiny—perhaps so much that his larger-than-life skills have been overshadowed by a belief system that fits in a helmet.

The probability of finding humility in the NFL is about the same as finding one of Newt Gingrich’s contact lenses at Lollapaloozas: small; yet Tebow seems to have harnessed a force greater than his teammates’ egos.  

Tebow is also known for his eye-black—it’s what we moms call “lack of sleep” and was originally invented to protect their eyes from the glare of Jessica Simpson's bleached locks.

There is some controversy about how he uses eye-black to refer to scripture. Unlike most of us with anonymous darn circles, Tebow has a national audience—one could argue he is taking advantage of his position to promote religion. Is he perhaps Christianity’s one-man marketing department? Maybe, but isn’t it the American way to promote? 

We are a marketing culture. Women carry designer handbags. (I could buy a Volkswagen for what I paid for my “Louis.”) Our kids wear T-shirts and sweat pants inscribed with brand names and logos that are large enough to be seen from space. Between Lombard and Burr Ridge there are three malls with the same stores. Let’s face it— the message to the consumer is “buy this brand now." 

Is it so bad that behind the man and under the helmet is a message that can’t be sold, traded on the Nasdaq, or purchased with a Groupon? 

After the kids came along, I traded my designer purse for a diaper bag, and for years the only thing I picked up in a department store was a crying child with a runny nose. Jewelry became a potential chew toy, and in its place was whatever a runny nose left behind—my priorities changed.

To me, Tebowing is about slowing down. If we strip away the religious reference, and respect his humility, we can find some humanity. Maybe we should all bow down in some way to smaller and less mysterious forces, like people. 

I revere the men and women of the Western Springs Fire Department. They not only saved my home last year, but pretended not to notice I look like Phyllis Diller at 2 a.m.—that’s courage. 

I also humbly respect the guy with road rage for teaching me patience. I respect the runny nose and its power to take down a household within a week. 

I respect my kids for teaching me everything except fifth-grade math—that is one thing that will take a miracle.


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