“There’s no crying in football.” That paraphrase of a Tom Hanks movie line is the apparent sentiment of many in the world of sports media today.
Are you kidding me? It makes me wonder how many of these guys ever played the game – or played any game.
Tim Tebow is taking a pounding from pundits because he shed some tears as the 2009 SEC Championship Game came to a close with his Florida Gators on the short end of the scoreboard. These sportwriters, and sports radio hosts, seem to think Tebow’s reaction was somehow sub-manly. Granted,this is not a universal attitude among those in sports journalism – and maybe not even the majority opinion, but I’ve heard enough to realize this perspective does not belong just to a few isolated idiots.
Much has already been written about Tebow’s exploits and exceptional character. There is nothing I can add to that. There is no need to re-make those cases. But I do want to chime-in on this conversation with a couple simple points.
1. Absolutely there are tears shed on football fields. It is almost as much part of the game as is sweat. It is physically demanding game. It is also mentally and emotionally exhausting – perhaps especially for a quarterback. Players prepare for hours upon hours for 60 minutes of competition. At the end of the competition a player who has give all he has to give, physically, mentally, and emotonally, is drained. He is reduced to raw emotion. Tears are often shed on both sides, especially in a championship game – tears of joy for the victors; tears of frustration for the one whose all was not quite enough.
Frankly, as an ex-player and former coach, it is the guys who are not on the verge of tears at the end of a hard fought game who always bothered me most.
2. Tebow demonstrated the epitome of character and sportsmanship. Having been reduced to raw emotion; having watched year-long – if not life-long – dreams coming to an end, Tebow was nothing but gracious and effusive in his compliments and congratulations to his opponents. No excuses. No finger pointing. No sour grapes. Tebow just said: “Alabama was better than us today”.
Impressive. Which is more than I can say for Tebow’s naysayers.