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Tebow inspires crowd at Meyer "Evening of Excellence"
Tim Tebow
Tim Tebow

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Like most people who successfully follow their dreams Tim Tebow has accomplished his goals through his focus, hard work and his faith in Jesus Christ.

Saturday night Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner and two-time National Champion as quarterback for the University of Florida, spoke to a sellout crowd of 5,500 at Allen Arena on the Lipscomb University campus for the second annual Don Meyer Evening of Excellence. The speech was the culmination of a full day of activities including Tim and his parents, Pam and Bob Tebow.

Tebow already knew about coach Meyer long before he was asked to speak at the second annual event. He had heard Meyer speak at the EPSYs and was impressed with what he had to say about faith, family and striving for excellence every day.

“I was inspired by a man I had never heard of, but a wonderful man,” Tebow said. “I thought, wow, if every coach was like this then the youth of America would be totally different.”

Tebow talked about three main guidelines for the way he lives his life.

The first was to be willing to stand alone and to stand for something.

“If you stand for something people might like you, or they might not like you, but at least you will stand for something,” Tebow said. “Whatever you do, stand for something.”

Tebow, who took time to provide his support to Lipscomb only a few days before the NFL Draft, plans to use his pro career as a platform for presenting his beliefs.

“For me, it is more than just a platform,” Tebow said. “There is a responsibility and an obligation for me to be a good role model and set an example for the next generation.

“The NFL is not the end for me. It is a means to an end. It will give me a platform to hopefully make a difference.”

Secondly, he urged everyone to live life with passion.

“Live every day with passion,” Tebow said. “Whatever I do I give my whole heart to it. If you live with passion it is contagious. People are drawn to that. You will make a difference.”

Tim talked of his father’s passion for his work as a missionary.

“My Dad set goals,” Tim said. “Sometimes they were outrageous goals that some people wouldn’t even think they could accomplish. But he believed in them and the people around him believed in him.

“He would work as hard as he had to in order to get things done. He would worker harder than people would believe you could work. When you have someone who believes you and you believe in yourself you can accomplish so much more than you think you could accomplish. What I try to do with my focus and work ethic is to find out how hard I can push myself and then keep going.”

Tim works to be passionate on the football field, with his ministry and with his foundation. His first foundation is known as “First and Fifteen”. He also has another called the “Brighter Day” Foundation. The foundation work has grown now that he has graduated from Florida and is no longer having to work under the rules of the NCAA.

“I’ve never been someone who likes to do a lot of fluff, to do a lot of stuff that doesn’t really matter,” Tebow said. “I like to do stuff that I feel really matters like training for the sport I love, visiting kids in the hospital and going on the mission trips. I have put my heart into those things.”

As an example of his dedication to the children he has met both of Tebow’s wrists are covered with bracelets that represent children dealing with problems such as cancer or another illness or disability.

And third, he talked about finishing strong.

“I am extremely competitive,” Tebow said. “That is something that has made me somewhat successful at sports. I refuse to lose. I am going to whatever it takes to win.

“Since I was six years old, every time I would lose my mother would ask me if I had given it to the Lord. He has a reason for it. We are not big enough to handle the frustration but the Lord is. That is a life’s lesson I am learning every day.”

His parents stressed to him as a child that whatever he was doing that God was watching him.

“Even as a young kid I wanted to do things that would make God proud,” Tebow said.

He started out his football career as a tight end and linebacker as a freshman in high school, but he dreamed of being a quarterback. His family made a move to another town in order to Tim to play quarterback.

“Kids don’t believe in themselves today,” Tebow said. “They have a dream, but someone comes along and tells them they can’t accomplish that dream and they don’t pursue it.”

Tebow’s parents are missionaries. He and his two sisters and two brothers grew up on a farm. He was the youngest. Tebow’s father said that his son is one of the most focused people he has ever known.

“It is very difficult to distract him from his aims and goals,” Bob Tebow said. “He has also developed the greatest work ethic I have ever seen somebody possess.”

His father stressed that wasn’t always the case. He pointed out that when Tim was little his nickname was “Shade Tree”.

“We would send all five of the children out to do chores and work in the garden,” Bob Tebow said. “He didn’t work his garden hoe, he leaned on it. There was a long process of teaching him to work hard. He caught on and he will out-work just about anybody now.”

His mother is proud of the fact that her son is also known of being kind.

“That might go against what some people might view a football player,” Pam Tebow said. “That means a lot to me as a mom.”

He rates his parents as his biggest role models. But he also credits former Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel and the way he has lived his life.

“I remember when he came to our church,” Tebow said. “I stood in line for his autograph. I think about how he made me feel and how he handled his successes and frustration. When I am asked to sign an autograph or to pose for a photo I think of how I felt when he signed for me.”

In an evening celebrating excellence it was only fitting to honor the top senior female and male athletes.

Lauren Dortwegt, a senior member of the softball team; and Ryan Chastain, a senior member of both the track and field and cross country teams, were presented with the James R. Byers Awards.

The award is the highest honor that an active Lipscomb athlete can receive. It is presented to the female and male senior athletes that display Christian leadership and also show academic and athletic excellence.

They were presented Bibles before Tebow spoke.

The evening started out with an excellent surprise when Marty Roe of Diamond Rio sang several songs, including “Amazing Grace” in which he was joined by the Allen Arena crowd. Diamond Rio’s next release will be a Christian album. Roe is a graduate of Lipscomb University.

Philip Hutcheson, Lipscomb Athletic Director, addressed the crowd on the goals of Lipscomb’s athletic program. President Randy Lowry provided insight into the growth of the school and speculated on what David Lipscomb would think of the school today.

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Writer/Director of Media Relations.