Most Gator fans already know about Tim Tebow pushing a 7 year old boy with cerebal palsy around in his wheelchair during warm-ups before the season opener against Charleston Southern. But for those of you who haven't heard about it, Boomer Hornbeck's grandfather, Bud Hornbeck, submitted the rest of the story and you can read it here. And, yes, it's true.
We get a fair amount of email at our "Tebow's eye black" blog regarding Tim Tebow, some concerned and some jeering, that he's "a fake." And we understand this concern.
But we live in Gainesville and we have seen him here, there, and everywhere around town over the past few years. We've seen him patiently and graciously have his meal interrupted by some pretty obnoxious fans (as hard as it is for many of you to believe that Gator fans can actually be obnoxious). And we've seen him smile while receiving a few barbs at his expense (Yes, even in Gainesville). But when you actually see him take time and talk with kids, and joke with them, and listen to them ramble on and encourage them, the skepticism begins to fade.
We've also seen how people behave when he is present and how they behave when he leaves, and the difference is stark. You may not be better for having met him, like Gary Danielson so embarrassingly gushed, but people do put their best foot forward when he is present. And we like to think of that as a good thing, because it does actually make our lives better here in Gainesville.
We encourage you to read the Hornbecks' story, but we suggest even more that you look at the family photos that they took. We all know that you can spot a fake, but when you look at Boomer's trip to the Swamp, you can clearly see the emotional impact it had, not only on Boomer, but especially on Urban Meyer. You can also see how much fun Tebow had showing Boomer around.
People wonder if Tebow is "really that good" but what they don't really consider is how much fun it has to be. You know that feeling you get at Christmas when you give to the Salvation Army or help a family in need. That small warm glow as you forget about yourself and all your problems for one small moment. Imagine feeling like that everyday. The guy is a beast on the field and that success gives him the ability to make the day for kids like Boomer and Gator fans alike. But you don't have "to be all that" to make someone's day.
The question really should not be "why does Tebow live this way?" but why don't we? Our lives and the lives of those around us would be so much better if we did. So if you find yourself asking if Tebow is "really all that?" Ask yourself instead, "why not me?" Because, let's face it, none of us are ever going to play like him, but how hard is it to feel good about helping someone else out? Tebow may be a fake, we don't really know. But you know that warm feeling you get isn't and won't ever be.