Monday, November 30, 2009

Comparing Tim and Danny

Let me start by saying that comparing Tim Tebow and Danny Wuerffel is extremely difficult for me because I love them both more for what they have done off the field and for the type of men they are than for what they have done on the field. There are others who can and will compare their stats. The wins, the losses, the yardage, the completion percentages, third down conversions, Touchdown passes, SEC championships, and even National Championships can all be quantified rather easily by anyone who really cares to see the numbers.

There are both really Godly men who live by the values they publicly proclaim. Both were genuine in their faith during their college careers both on and off the field. Both inspired their fellow Gator students to do greater things on behalf of their values and their God. Both made significant contributions to the lives of their coaches and fellow players while they were in Gainesville. Both went beyond themselves on behalf of others more times than they could count during their four or years at the University of Florida. Although I was personally closer to Danny than I have been with Tim, I can say that I knew them both at least well enough to recognize my face in Tim's case, and well enough to spend time in my home in Danny's case.

But there is a difference in Tim and Danny's legacy at UF. Part of the reason Tim is at UF is because of Danny's legacy. He grew up wanting to be like him. Tim grew up a Gator fan in part because of the type of person Danny was and is for that matter. While Danny was widely covered in his day, the coverage was enough for his influence to spread to a kid in Jacksonville and others like him in places all over the United States. That's the extent that most media went in 1996. Now with Tim, that influence has been expanded around the globe. The explosion of information sharing media has produced the hype that culminated last Saturday night with a display that I have never witnessed at Florida Field in almost 20 years of working on the sidelines. With Florida driving for what would likely be the last score directed by Tim, the camera's were flashing and glowing like I've never witnessed personally. It was greater than the effect at Yankee Stadium when Roger Clemons was going for his 300th win. I know because I was at both!

Was it because Tim is more beloved than Danny? I don't really think so. Was it because Tim has given back more to the fans than Danny? Nope, I don't think that is it. I believe the outpouring of photo love given to Tim has a much more practical genesis. Everyone now has a digital camera or a cell phone that takes pictures. Had that technology been available during Danny's last game in the Swamp, I think you would have seen a very similar expression of love and appreciation. Now everyone is a photographer just like everyone is a columnist. This writing is a prime example. I had no way to express my appreciation publicly to Danny back in the 90's. So I would like to thank both Tim and Danny for the way they have represented the body of Christ both on and off the field. I am proud to call them my brothers! I look forward to others stepping up and carrying on the tradition. I remember people saying "we'll never see another player like Danny!" and they were right. Now I hear people saying "we'll never see another one like Tim!" and they will be right. I'm just excited about who the Lord will send next to extend this legacy of faith filled, winners who live for Jesus, son's of preachers who quarterback the University of Florida to championships!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The value of "no comment"

Do you hate it when coaches and players respond to questions asked by the media with "no comment"? I know that I've heard media types get upset when that is the answer given. But now you know that response is going to become more popular than ever from SEC coaches and players.

Q. Did you think the holding call that brought back the touchdown run that would have sent your team to the championship should have been made since you barely touched the defender?
A. No comment

Q. Coach there were several calls that could have gone either way that went against your team tonight, how does that make you feel?
A. No comment

Q. The replay seems to show that the ball was clearly on the ground yet the play on the field was not overturned, you lost the game, what did you tell your team in the locker room.
A. No comment

Urban Meyer was asked a question and he gave an honest response. He didn't go out of his way to publicly criticize the official. He said, "In my opinion, I think it should have been called." That was a response to a question. Not a statement that he made unsolicited. Between this and the whole Spikes issue, I wouldn't be surprised if UF instituted a no talk policy to any of the media. It's the only way to make sure their coaches, staff, and players don't get into further trouble from the league or youtube viral posters.

In fact, maybe we should ban all TV cameras, cell phones, video and still cameras from the stadium. We could also clean up our act and keep our heads when the heat of the battle is on. Both of those would prevent the haters from piling on every week. But we have a responsibility to live within the rules set by the conference and so you will hear less from the coaches in the weeks to come. Just don't get upset with the sports writers when they have nothing to write about. And writers don't get upset with the coaches and players when they won't talk to you about anything controversial. The value of "no comment" has been set by the commish starting at $30,000. It will only go up and that's a lot of nickles and dimes no matter what you make in a year.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Insight from the Georgia-Florida Game

The annual border war between Georgia and Florida for many years was called the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." University officials have tried to change the image of the event by changing the name. They refuse to allow people to call it that officially anymore. Even the networks have had to drop the moniker in their coverage of the game. President Bernie Machen of UF has tried to force Jacksonville to curb the selling of alcohol by outdoor vendors at the Landing and set up safe zones before, during and after the game.
It is a noble idea on the part of the presidents but I don't think the general population is getting on board. I haven't noticed a drop in the general atmosphere surrounding the game. As we approached the stadium on Saturday, it seemed just as many people were just as drunk as ever. The majority of people walking on the streets or sitting in their chairs tailgating had what appeared to be adult beverages in their hands. Some were obviously there for the party and simply tolerated the inconvenience of a football game in the middle of a two day party. There were a lot of college students doing the drinking, many of who were probably under the legal age to drink. But the majority of drinkers I witnessed were of the older variety. People who you think would have better things to do than get drunk in the middle of the afternoon. Now to be fair, many of them probably didn't get technically drunk. But how can you really tell? So let's give them the benefit of the doubt.
Whatever their Blood Alcohol levels, it is clear that you can change the name but you can't really change the event from the outside. The World's Largest Cocktail Party will continue to be so, regardless of the label that Machen or anyone else slaps on it. That's because you can't change behavior through an external law or mandate. Real behavior change can only happen from the inside out. Sounds like something Jesus said a long time ago. "It's not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, but what flows out of him!" Character makes a difference and the only one who can make a difference in a man's character is God through His grace. I'm thankful that God changed my character when I accepted His grace through His Son Jesus Christ in 1978. Thirty one years later, that Grace is still changing me!