Sunday, February 12, 2012


     What do you think of TebowMania, Tebowing and Tebow Time? Now that the football season is over and this topic is no longer in the mainstream media we can look back on this in short term retrospect and make a call. When my gymnasts began Tebowing in the gym, I started putting a little more thought into the matter. My vote is that the Tebow phenomenon of the 2011 season was a good thing. Of course, this is based on the effect it had on my little piece of the world.      I believe one of the greatest lessons a coach can teach a child athlete is to seize the opportunities derived from success in sports to do some good. When you do something well it draws attention to you, creating an opportunity to make a difference, good or bad.
     Tim Tebow’s actions drew attention on a world-wide stage and he didn’t let that opportunity slip by. But, what about the gymnast on your team that swings beautiful giants on bars and the little girls who watch her in awe? This gymnast has an opportunity to have an effect on her little piece of the world just as Tim Tebow had the opportunity to affect a large piece of the world. We should teach our athletes to recognize these moments. A well placed compliment or something as simple as “hi, how are you?” can go a long way. With practice, this will become habit, a good habit.
     A lot was made of the fact that Tebow finds a way to win. We should teach our children to play within the rules and try their best to win. I think this is a lesson that is often lost in youth sports, which is a disservice to our children. So many valuable life lessons are learned from the win/lose dichotomy. Sure, whether you win or lose shouldn’t be a priority in youth sports, but the determination to excel within the rules is a lesson we should teach, because it has value for a lifetime.
     If we aren’t teaching our children to excel, what are they learning from us? Keep in mind that excellence is personal. What’s considered excellent for John is not the same as what is considered excellent for Jim. Personal excellence should be based on what an individual has done in the past, their experience and their current goals.
     To the Tebow critics, I say “get over it.” I’m pretty confident that Tim Tebow didn’t consciously think “I’m going to kneel down and pray on national television to draw attention to myself.” Football players spend a lot of time on one knee. Someone devoted to their religious beliefs spends a lot of time praying. I’m sure it was years and years ago that these two things blended for Tim Tebow, somewhere unnoticed by the rest of the world.
     I really should give these critics in media a break though. After all, their job is to attract attention. Or, maybe I shouldn’t, because when you attract attention to yourself, you have the opportunity to make a difference, good or bad. It’s their choice. The opportunity is there. Maybe they should ask themselves “what would Tim do?”


Anonymous said...

I can attest to the fact that older gymnasts have an affect on the younger girls. I recently found an old gymnastics diary that I'd gotten when I was in level 5 and on one page I had written all about how "D" had said my vault was good. I was so excited and I'm sure it wasn't something she thought about and I'm sure she has no idea how much it meant to me, but she made my day! I have no idea what skills she did or what most of her accomplishments were, but she had an impact on me and I always made an effort to say "hi" and "good job" to the younger girls when I got older because I knew how much it had meant to me. Anyway, I hope you're doing well and my sister, Leah, found your book on amazon and I'm in the process of reading it!

-Erica Moore

Mark said...

Erica, it's great to hear from you. And, it's great to hear another story about how one of my older gymnasts had an impact on a younger one. That one good deed had an effect on you AND another generation of girls who you reached out to. That's pretty cool. "D" went on to be a Big-12 Vault Champion at the University of Missouri and her picture is on a plaque outside of the new training facility at Mizzou (talk about cool). We had another "D" on our team lately. She's competing at the University of Alabama now. When I did coach/parent/gymnast conferences recently several of the girls mentioned what a good role model she had been. One of my posts is about a lesson she taught me (Me and my gymnasts. Sometimes I'm teaching them, sometimes their teaching me.) Hope you enjoyed the book.