Monday, September 17, 2012
Religion In Sport
If you have watched an NFL game, or even turned on your television for that matter, in the past two years, you most likely know Tim Tebow. Tim Tebow has become the most popular professional sports figure of this era. The reason for his unparalleled infinite amount of popularity and support from people all over the world does not stem from his football skills, athletic ability, will to win, or good looks for that matter. It is because of his faith and religion. Religion has always been a part of sport but perhaps has never drawn as much attention as it does in today’s world of sport, which is largely due to the arrival of what is now a household name, Tim Tebow.
Religion in sport is nothing new and has been, in some aspects of sport, a tradition or ritual for pre-game preparation. While a pre-game prayer is common among most sports, most aspects of religion in sport have been just that, off the field expressions of personal beliefs that help prepare an individual get ready for battle and competition. Not until Tim Tebow has religion been so strongly associated within sport both on and off the field and expressed so deliberately without any hesitation. Tim Tebow’s faith and religion pours out of him in everything he says and does both on and off the field. From quoting the Bible at tough times in a game to helping motivate coaches and teammates, to singing gospel songs while playing, Tebow expresses his religion continuously throughout competition. In the past the most obvious expression of religion in sport, particularly in football, has been taking a knee to pray after scoring a touchdown. This simple idea of taking a knee for a quick prayer after scoring has been overlooked in the past, but is now tagged as “Tebowing.” It’s amazing to see something that has been part of the game for decades and done by hundreds of athletes turn into such a worldwide phenomenon associated with just one player - Tim Tebow.
Tim Tebow’s faith and passion for expressing his religious views have been embraced by most Americans. People admire him for maintaining and expressing his strong faith while competing in a violent and physical sport such as football. Tebow’s strong expression of religion in sport is the beginning --- a beginning of a new era of religion in sport that will have an affect on all sports and athletes and the way they express their religion on the playing field.
Tim Tebow: Through My Eyes. Tim Tebow & Nathan Whitaker; 2011.