“It’s definitely enemy territory,” jokes the former University of Florida quarterback and current Denver Broncos player, who will appear Monday at Books & Books in Coral Gables. “But there are a lot of Gators down south who are very supportive.”
At 23, Tebow is an awfully young memoirist, but he believes he has plenty to tell. In Through My Eyes (HarperCollins, $26.99) he writes about football (first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy, he won two national championships and once ran for a touchdown with a broken leg in high school); growing up with his missionary parents and his Christian faith. Too good to be true? Just wait. He also founded the Tim Tebow Foundation and supports an orphanage in the Philippines. He wore Bible verses in his eye black (causing the NCAA to ban the practice). Even his underwear ads for Jockey are clean-cut.
We talked to Tebow about all this stuff.
It’s a little different than most people think. They think you’re busy all day. But really you have a book signing for two hours. I still train all day and work out.
So many other people have written stuff about me, and all those stories aren’t accurate. I wanted to set the record straight. But the main reason was somehow to encourage and inspire or put a smile on someone’s face, whether that’s a kid trying to follow his dream or an adult who needs a role model for his kid. To have an impact on people’s lives in a good way.
Why is being a role model so important?
It’s the most important thing to me, period. If I just play football and just try to win games and championships, if that’s all I do, then at the end of my life it’s not going to mean very much. It’s just a game. … I love it, but if you take the platform, and you can influence someone’s life and inspire them to go after their dream, then what you’re doing is worth it. You’re having a life of success and meaning.
It was pretty crazy, very rowdy. A lot of people showed up; they were sleeping on floors and in shopping carts. I signed the whole time, and when the time was up they told me, ‘There are another 600 people waiting,’ and I was like, ‘Well, we’re gonna be here awhile then.’ But it was cool.
How do you deal with people who say you’re too good to be true?
I learned going into my sophomore year at Florida you can’t worry about what you can’t control. I’m a people pleaser, and I like people supporting me, but at the same time there are always going to be naysayers who say you’re fake or not real. … I honestly can’t worry about it. … I know who I’m affecting. I have to keep those kids in mind and keep my goals and dreams in mind. The only reason people are naysayers is they’ve had setbacks, and they want to pull other people down. I’m staying positive and listening to the support staff around me, my family and friends.
Any predictions for the Gators this year, now that coach Urban Meyer is gone?
I really like coach [Will] Muschamp. He’ll do a good job. I think we will have one of the top five defenses in the country.
Tim Tebow appears from 7-9 p.m. at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Book-voucher purchase required; 305-442-4408 or www.booksandbooks.com.