Friday, October 10, 2008
Why Do We Hate Tim Tebow?
The LSU-Florida game is tomorrow (provided that it isn't postponed for evacuation from Hurricane Ricky), so I've naturally been thinking about how much I hate Tim Tebow. Compared with anyone who has ever played for Auburn during my lifetime, my hatred for him is pretty tame. But I still yell all kinds of homophobic epithets I didn't think I had in me whenever he jump-passes or waddles between the tackles for a score.
Yesterday a blog called Cajun Boy by another displaced Louisianan explored the idea of the widespread hatred of Tim Tebow, not just in non-Florida southeastern states, but all across the country. The conclusion he seemed to reach and be satisfied with was "Tim Tebow's religious and that's stupid." I agree that Tebow is universally hated, but this guy's reason for it is laughably reductive. The South is chock full of religious people, both fervent and reserved, and at least a few people would be Tebow disciples for that specific reason. A lot of people don't care either way, and a lot of college football fans aren't even aware that Tebow does stuff like go on mission trips to circumcise young boys. People hate Tim Tebow because he represents everything we hate while appearing to represent none of it.
For example, Cajun Boy's problem with Tebow isn't just that he's a devoted Christian, it's that Tebow is in a position of power in which he could smash any and every Sunshine State coed he wants and chooses not to because of those religious beliefs. It's as if he's foolishly wasting a gift God has so obviously given him. What angers Cajun Boy is not any quality Tebow himself possesses. It's a contradiction of properties: what Tebow should do, and what Tebow does.
From the beginning of our hate affair with Tebow, these contradictions have been present. He was home-schooled throughout high school, but under Florida law, he was still allowed to play organized sports for the institution in the district where he lived. (He later sketchily moved to an apartment in Jacksonville in order to play for pass-happy Nease High.) So at once, he's the creepy home-schooled kid who is a bit too close to his own family, but he also becomes the Big Man on Campus at a major university and has a girlfriend who looks like Lucy Pinder. We should be able to revel in Tebow's awkwardness, except for the fact that he doesn't seem awkward at all.
Okay, not awkward except for the jean shorts. Anyone wearing those obviously didn't get made fun of enough in high school.
Even if the casual football fan doesn't know these personal details, he still senses the way Tebow occupies conflicting ideas. Few NCAA athletes get the media coverage and Ludquist love that Timmy receives, but his style of play offers him few pro options (literally, lolz). So even though he's the most famous and possibly best player in all of college football, all that serves as is a reminder of how temporal and misconstrued and foreign college football is. Tebow is a weird cognate for what would be effective in the national language of the NFL. Along those same lines, he's, by all accounts, a completely selfless guy, but he plays as a scrambling quarterback, which, better sense be damned, always seems selfish. It's what's given Black quarterbacks a bad name for decades. Once again, Tebow appears as one idea while actually representing another.
We're left with a guy who has every right to be conceited but is down-to-earth, a guy who should have a bright future but doesn't, a guy who should be awkward but is charismatic. Plus, he's left-handed, and who likes that in a quarterback?
Despite his best efforts, Tim Tebow makes himself hard to love. No circumcising young boys.