Tim Tebow: A Man for All Seasons
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In football, baseball and life, Tim Tebow shows how optimism and resilience help overcome any obstacle.

As one of the nation’s most recognizable athletes, Tim Tebow has scaled heights that few could imagine. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2007, helped guide the University of Florida to a pair of national championships as quarterback, and led the Denver Broncos to the NFL playoffs in 2011. And, like any prominent sports figure, he’s also faced his share of adversity along the way, from picking himself off the turf after each jarring hit to staying positive in the face of critics and doubters in the 24/7 glare of the national spotlight.

“It’s hard to be criticized, no matter what you do,” he says. But Tebow has never let naysayers dampen his optimism, faith and next steps. In 2016, for example, with his NFL days behind him and a successful broadcasting career in the works, Tebow made the unlikely switch to baseball, as a 29-year-old rookie outfielder in the New York Mets farm system.

Lessons from Life

Asked by Insights where he finds his inner strength and resilience, Tebow points not to lessons learned on the playing fields but to his experiences around people facing far steeper challenges. When Tebow was growing up, his missionary parents, Bob and Pam, took their five children to countries around the world, including the Philippines, where the family established an orphanage. “The people had almost nothing,” Tebow recalls. “But they were happy. It was life-changing for them—and us.”

Tebow, who started his own charitable foundation in 2010, has built Tebow CURE Hospital, a children’s hospital in the Philippines, preached to prisoners, helped the rural poor and raised money for pediatric cancer, among other efforts. “What pressure have I really faced as a professional football or baseball player?” Tebow asks. “That’s not real pressure. Real pressure is when you don’t know when you’re going to have your next meal. Real pressure is when you don’t know if you’re going to get through chemo.”

Over the years, Tebow’s openness about his faith has drawn both positive and negative attention. Either way, Tebow himself is more concerned with how faith helps keep him steady and grounded through the highs and lows. “When you have that in your life, you know you’re loved, you know you’re accepted and you know your life has significance,” he says. “If you have conviction and faith in something, you’ve got to stay the course.”

Out of the Park

Tebow’s professional baseball career could hardly have started more auspiciously: Last September, he swung on the first pitch he saw in the Mets Instructional League, and the ball sailed out of the park. “But in baseball, you keep grinding,” says Tebow. “There’s always the next at bat.”

Whether his baseball dreams lead him to the Major Leagues remains to be seen. Yet wherever he goes from here, one thing seems clear: He’ll pursue those next steps with passion, optimism and belief in his ability to bounce back. “Think about it, if you’re down and you start hanging your head, that does not put you in position for a comeback,” he says.

“That’s true in any part of life. The only time you lose, really, is when you give up.”

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