|The old Mile High Stadium|
That would be tough. I've not an avid sports fan. (So, I would never be chosen and would never have to worry about this.) But if I were invited to write a column, I would write about the hype surrounding Tim Tebow, and whether or not he should be the role model that the media portrays him to be.
Of course, I don't know Tebow. I don't even know that much about him. But he seems like a genuinely nice guy, great athlete and someone who could easily be considered a role model for youth today. And if he is, that's understandable. But I would argue that slapping a 'role model' label on anyone famous is ridiculous to begin with.
Look at how the media has turned on celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Michael Phelps, and anyone else who lives in the spotlight and makes mistakes like the rest of us. They are people living their lives, and like the rest of us, they make mistakes. What a relief that no one is frantically taking our pictures and spewing forth condemnations when we mess up, criticizing us and saying that we aren't very good role models.
It's true, though. Sometimes we aren't. And we should be held to much higher standards to the youths that we know than the distant celebrities they choose as role models instead.
Children and teens across the country are currently emulating Tebow -- Te-bowing like Tim does. And they're getting in trouble for it. I can't help but wonder whether they're mixing the boundaries between modelling and mimicking? They describe Tebow as their role model, but seem more focused on his fame and athletic prowess rather than on Tim Tebow as a whole. To describe Tebow as a role model would be to model yourself after him in his roles as professional athlete, devout Christian, right-to-lifer, and all-around nice guy. If you're aspiring to be a Christian football player who speaks publicly about his views on abortion rights, then he is a solid choice. But to simply start Te-bowing because you admire him isn't modeling yourself after him at all.
Meanwhile, the media is just waiting for him to fail somehow; to mess up and expose himself as someone who's not so wholesomely good after all. They criticize his football ability. They write about him yet say he's getting too much hype. They're just waiting to pounce and I can imagine them rooting through his garbage, looking for dirt to sling in his face. I know one thing for certain: those people waiting for him to err aren't worthy of being role models.
But should Tim Tebow or any other athlete be depicted as a role model for their admiring fans? I don't think so. But we do it any way and then unfairly judge them when they don't live up to our expectations of how a role model should act. I say, let them play football, or swim, or run marathons and balance on balance beams. Let the spotlight be on them when they're on the field. Then turn it off when they hit the locker room.