I’m a fan of Tim Tebow as a person. He’s also the backup QB on one of my fantasy teams, so I root for him as a football player. And I was excited to see him lead an amazing comeback last week against the winless Miami Dolphins.
But this Tebowing fad is so played.
Tebowing is the new planking. Instead of laying down flat in public place, Tebowing is the act of kneeling in prayer, forehead to fist. Here’s the website, where a clever football fan is inviting Tebowing submissions and hawking Tebowing t-shirts.
Unlike a lot of paydirt prayers, Tebow’s penitent act has long been seen as more sincere. Why wouldn’t it be? Tim Tebow is Jesus Christ’s football star. Maybe the only player regularly in the prayers of fellow Christians.
He is, as Sean S. O’Neil wrote last week, Tim Tebow, Protestant saint:
Tebow seemed to have an uncanny sense that the camera had caught him when he ceremonially genuflected. The difference between his gesture and other athletic signals to the divine, however, is that Tebow has made clear in every bestselling book (he just has one so far, at the age of 23) and every interview he gives that his devotion is particular: that Jesus Christ is his “Lord and Savior.” Evangelicals like my mother don’t need that text anymore to perceive something divine in his continuingly improbable story. Like evangelicals around the globe, she has an abundant archive of internet footage to download at her convenience as a visual reminder that her personal stories of comeback and belief are part of a broader narrative in which God helps the underdog in this life. Find a Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Christian and they will tell you that this is what saints and icons have done all along.
Tebowing ... not so much (though occasionally humorous).