By Sam Wildow
TROY —A evening of inspiration brought local residents and visitors together for the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce’s event on Thursday evening featuring Tim Tebow at Hobart Arena.
While Tebow is a two-time national football champion, first-round NFL draft pick, Heisman Trophy winner, and former professional baseball player, sponsors for the event also highlighted Tebow’s achievements in the realms of business and philanthropy.
“Even though his athletic accomplishments are well-known, it only tells part of his story. Tim is five-time New York Times best-selling author and is also a nationally-known figure who travels around the country,” said Sarah Worley of Dungan & LeFevre, one of the sponsors of Thursday’s event, when introducing Tebow. She noted that Tebow was in Missouri on Wednesday and headed to Texas on Friday. “His greatest passion is for the Tim Tebow Foundation, whose mission is to provide hope to those in their darkest hours.”
Born the son of missionaries, Tebow has committed his life to creating a better world for everyone. In 2010, he established the Tim Tebow Foundation, which is dedicated to bringing faith, hope, and love to those who are in need. With focus on anti-human trafficking, children with special needs, orphan care and prevention, and children with profound medical needs, he is dedicated to making the world a better place to live for everyone.
Tebow then took the stage, sharing both the chamber’s and his hopes for the audience members that evening prior to sharing a number of personal experiences with those watching.
“Their number one goal is to encourage you,” Tebow said of the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce. He hoped to take audience members one step further with his goal of inspiration, saying “inspire” means “to fill someone with the urge to do something.”
“I hope we all feel inspired,” Tebow said.
Tebow then touched on his love of sports and competition, as well as on growing up in Jacksonville, Fla, where he played tee-ball as a young child. He joked about how his tee-ball coach thought Tebow might be “over-competitive,” and Tebow’s father told him, “Timmy, it’s okay, he (the coach) just don’t understand.”
“For me, it was winning at all costs,” Tebow said. Tebow’s parents then helped him instill a sense of humility by having his siblings and him memorize Biblical scriptures on humility before they could play sports.
Tebow shared how his father — whom he called his “biggest hero” — introduced his siblings and him to what would become his favorite movie, “Braveheart,” before talking about the importance of passion.
Tebow said that being passionate about something means being “willing to sacrifice” and “willing to suffer for it.”
“Passion is different than how most people use it,” Tebow said. He added later, “It’s different than being hyped, but it’s also awesome.”
Tebow talked about how he sacrificed a $1 million advertising opportunity for a chance to play on the New England Patriots before he was later cut from the Patriots a few days later. Tebow didn’t have regrets about losing that $1 million paycheck, though, because he loved the sport so much and wanted a chance to play for the Patriots.
“When you love something and you’re passionate about it, was there really a choice?” Tebow said.
Tebow also described a mission trip he took when he was 15 years old to a small village on a remote island in the Philippines, where he connected with a local boy who had feet deformities. Tebow said the local villagers had believed that boy was cursed because of his physical deformities, so he was ostracized from the village, but Tebow showed the boy kindness and tried to help change the villagers’ minds. Tebow spoke about the boy’s friends who had helped him survive, even if it meant that they, too, might become ostracized from their community.
“What a picture of what love really looks like is those two friends,” Tebow said. To Tebow, those friends the boy in the village had were a picture of compassion.
Overall, the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce said they were happy with the turnout, as well as Tebow’s message.
“Tim was everything we could have hoped for and more. He delivered words of encouragement, hope, and inspiration; exactly what we had hoped,” said Joseph Graves, president of the Troy Chamber of Commerce.
Graves said the event was a “labor of love” to provide this opportunity to the community to come see Tebow, whom Graves said was a “genuinely nice guy.”
“He’s one of those celebrities that truly walk the walk,” Graves said. “Everything you heard about Tim Tebow is true.”