There’s probably nothing more American than jumping on a bandwagon.
America loves winners. Loves rubbing shoulders with them. Loves being identified as a winner by association.
It explains a lot about their politics, their celebrities and the culture.
And it feeds the need of a consumer society to keep innovating change to keep people buying something new thus keeping the money circulating.
Two months ago, barely anybody outside of football had heard of Tim Tebow. The name might’ve rung a bell from when he and his mom did a Pro-Life TV commercial. Or he was that pro-athlete who publically admitted being a virgin.
To most Americans, he was just some fringe doofus.
And then he started to win football games. Win them in the final seconds. Win doing things most people in football were certain he wasn’t capable of doing.
But instead of spouting the game theorems and cliché phrases appreciated by the Jockaucracy, Tebow didn’t talk much in the “Me” realm and credited his achievements to his spirituality, something considered wildly out-of-fashion by most in the mainstream media.
His detractors scoffed, sometimes too harshly it felt, given he was just a guy playing on a fringe football team barely hoping to make the playoffs. Who was he going to influence? What difference would he make in the grand scheme of things?
And when Tebow lost a game, there was a sudden burst of celebration from the bellwethers of the culture. A kind of sneering Edward G. Robinson, “Where’s your Messiah now, Moses?” glee.
I wondered why it was so important to marginalize this guy and even turn him into the Sarah Palin of the gridiron.
Yet Tebow kept pulling victories out of the fire, just sticking to what meagre talents he had.
And his fan base heat continued to grow, far from being fanned by a supportive media, most of whom considered him a “flash in the pan”.
Yet numbers released this week revealed that Tebow jerseys are the top seller in the league and the company whose underwear he endorses has seen its sales increase by 2000%.
When Tim Tebow won his first playoff game last Sunday -– again in a spectacular overtime sudden death display, the ratings indicated it had been seen by 25% of the country, achieving numbers only previously reached by the Super Bowl.
Suddenly the American media seemed to realize it had been ignoring a winner and better get on the bandwagon.
Those still dumping on Tim Tebow were chastised. His marketing power was touted. Presidential candidates sought his endorsement.
Others whispered that the 316 passing yards gained in his playoff win matched the number of the Bible verse the NFL forced him to remove from his eye black. Could it mean there really is a God?
If you want an answer to that question, look no further than the photo leaked this week of Tim’s girlfriend. In spiritual terms, this is what’s known as “Proof Positive, Brother!”
Unfortunately, Tim Tebow’s winning streak will likely end tonight. He’s up against a powerful team the Vegas money insists will triumph by a couple of touchdowns.
If the Denver Broncos do manage to win, expect Caesar’s Palace to add a Sistine Chapel replica to hedge its bets.
And a Denver loss will also probably cause the MSM to hop off the Tebow bandwagon and get on with doing what it appears to do best –- remain out of touch with the people who make up their audience.
But in losing, Tim Tebow will have reminded those who truly understand spirituality, the warrior’s spirit or any true faith that their belief does not provide access to some kind of magical vending machine that dispenses exactly what you want.
It’s just a way of living a life based not on wins or losses but on how well you live it and how well you treat those around you. In those terms, guys like Tim Tebow are never defeated.