Colorado Fil-Ams enthralled by Tebow time
SACRAMENTO—America’s been on extended Tebow Time. And don’t expect Filipino-Americans in Colorado to ask for a Tebow Timeout anytime soon.
This nation’s clock has revolved around Tebow—as in Makati-born Tim Tebow—quarterback of the National Football League’s Denver Broncos.
The most evangelical athlete performed another one of his weekend miracles Sunday. He threw the football to wide receiver Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard touchdown pass—the longest in overtime in the shortest extra period in NFL playoff history.
Tebow’s Hail Mary strike 11 seconds into sudden death lifted his team to a 29-23 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and into the second round of the NFL playoffs against the New England Patriots on Saturday (Sunday in the Philippines).
As if aided by unseen hands and backed by his own throwing arm, Tebow had engineered five fourth-quarter comebacks and three OT wins in the regular season to send the Broncos from the back of the pack to the top of the heap and into this weekend’s encounter with the Patriots for the NFL’s NFC conference divisional playoffs.
“Does Tim get help from above? Well, that’s nobody’s business, really” the Rev. Greg Mirto, pastor of a predominantly Filipino Catholic parish near Denver told me by phone. I can sense that the 70-year-old Father Greg, who hails from Aklan, was giving his tacit blessing to “Tebowing.”
“Tebowing”—dropping to one knee in prayer any time, any place on the football field—is a national phenomenon, a part of Tim’s display of football and faith frequently flashed on national television. Tim’s very public Godstuff has stirred and divided the sporting world.
New England crushed Tim and the Broncos, 41-23, in the regular season. “If Tebow beats the Patriots, I will start going to church,” said my irrepressible friend John Valdez.
“Kuya Tim’s a source of pride for Colorado Filipinos,” says Fran Campbell, past president of the Filipino American Community of Colorado now headed by her father, Silvino Simsiman from Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.
Fran said Broncos fans come up and talk to her and other Fil-Am leaders about Tebow and his Philippine connection. “We have the opportunity to share our culture in a way that we’ve not been able to before,” she exulted.
“His (Tebow’s) ability to inspire not only his team, but the communities surrounding the Broncos has given us all something to strive for,” said Bernadette Niblo, spokeswoman for the FACC. “His faith is strong. As Filipinos in Colorado, we connect with that and are honored to consider him one of our own.”
America’s number one professional athlete, according to an ESPN Sports poll, was born in Makati in 1987, while his parents were Baptist missionaries in the country.
Tebow has professed strong ties to the country where he was born. The Tim Tebow Foundation and CURE International are building a 30-bed hospital for children of indigent families in Davao City.
Tim was supposed to be in Davao this month when ground is broken for the facility. But due to his prolonged football commitment, there are no plans for a formal ceremony at this time, said CURE spokesperson Lisa Wolf.
“We will start construction as soon as we get all the permits,” Wolf said. “But Tim would still fly to Davao in the very near future.”