Monday, January 11, 2010

Tebow's Legacy may really be only a Legend

After the awesome Sugar Bowl game played by Tim Tebow and the Gator football team, I began to reflect on the career of Tim Tebow at the University of Florida. I have been asked by multiple media outlets about Tim, with questions ranging from his "real" character, his off the field life, and even his effect on Baptist faith on campus. I have written previously about his being a unique character on our campus and the reasons I think he has had a greater personal influence than any previous Gator athlete. This time my thoughts moved to a question that he was asked either prior to the broadcast or in the post game celebration, I don't remember which. The games are ending way to early in the morning for me these days. Which I think is a sign of my age rather than a change in broadcasting schedules! Anyway the question had to do with what Tim would like to be his "legacy" at UF.
As always, Tim gave a very thoughtful response. But after thinking about it for a while, I've come to the conclusion that the question is the wrong one. Because Tim cannot determine what his legacy will be at UF. Legacy is something we leave behind for others. What the interviewer really had in mind is what will the "legend" be of Tim. Put down those rocks Gator fans and hear me out on this one! Legend can be defined as a series of stories about someone or something or the person or thing at the center of such stories.
Tim has had his share of legendary performances including the last game of his career in New Orleans. The story of "the promise" will forever be immortalized by the plaque outside the football offices entrance. The Heisman Trophy will remain on display and there will surely be his name someday up on the ring of honor in the stadium. His jump passes will be the stuff of legend and before long everyone in the state will have been present when Tim beat the Sooners by himself in Miami. The things that Tim did are the stuff of legends. Two SEC championships, Two National Championships, more individual awards than most houses can hold, and more appearances on ESPN than Stuart Scott over the last four years are things that will never be forgotten.
But to evaluate a Legacy, we will have to wait a few years. We will have to wait and see if the players coming after Tim embrace the fans the way that he did. We will have to wait and see if they live out their faith and values like he did. We will have to wait and see if the future Gators play as hard, train as hard, and push each other as hard as Tim did. Because you see if those qualities that Tim have that made his a great leader do not get passed down to this year's team and the teams that come after this, then he will not have left a legacy. But he will always be a legend!
That leads me to ask myself the question, "Am I living to leave a legacy or make a legend of myself?" What about you? When you and I are gone from this earth will people remember us or will people embody the values and faith that we cherish. As I approach the last half of my life, I am beginning to care more about leaving a legacy than worrying about my legend. I have to admit at times in my earlier career it was the other way around. Perhaps that is the wisdom of age or maybe just a revelation that I don't want to waste my life. Either way I hope to invest in leaving a legacy for the remaining years of my life. Care to join me?

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