From a cultural standpoint, Tim Tebow is the gift that keeps on giving.
Today, he became a Jet all the way, and while I’m a Yankees-Giants fan – albeit one who likes to see all New York teams succeed – I am swooning with rapture.
Let the snickering begin, but this is a winning situation in many ways, again culturally speaking. As one of the media capitals of the world, New York will have no trouble absorbing “the media circus” that follows the so-called “popular but polarizing player.” (OK, here reporters covering this need to retire the overused “polarizing” as well as the phrase “elite quarterback,” which the apparently “polarizing” Tebow isn’t.) Tebow in turn will get the largest pulpit he could possibly imagine for his charitable platform.
But given that the central narrative in the City That Never Sleeps is the city itself, Tebow will also be left unmolested by a citizenry that disdains celebrity-gawking. That means he will have the opportunity to reinvent himself in a town that reinvents itself daily. Hey, if Jackie O could come back to the place she knew and loved first and find “a separate peace” – despite the paparazzi – Tebow can discover the same.
As for the saint in Sodom and Gomorrah, I don’t buy it. Not because I think Tebow’s a phony but rather I don’t think New York is the Sin City of my youth anymore. Here’s something I discovered covering 9/11: There are 400 houses of worship in Harlem alone. And that’s just one section of one borough.
Besides, when anyone says anything nasty about New York to me, I’m always able to shut him up immediately with this thought: On one of the very worst days in our nation’s history, New York displayed the very best in humanity. Not many get the chance to act in a catastrophe the way they imagine in their heads. Whatever else happens, no one will ever be able to take that away from us.
There is one last large cultural observation to be derived from the Peyton Manning-Tim Tebow drama of the last few days and that is this: If the boss doesn’t find you useful, you’re gone. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how talented you are or how well you behave. I love John Elway’s snide, backhanded compliment about Tebow being the kind of young man he’d be happy to have marry his daughter. Why drag her into it? Is she a football player he can trade for a daughter to be named later?
I’m sure Tebow will do well in the Big Apple. As Shakespeare says in “Coriolanus”: “There is a world out there.”
It’s up to us to find ours.