Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tebow


So what does Tebow have to do with independent school admissions? I’m not sure I know. But one can’t help but to be caught up in Tebow-fever. It’s the day of the big game: Tebow vs. Brady. (Actually, Denver vs. New England.) And there is not one but two Tebow articles in today’s Wall Street Journal. That’s right: I’m not talking about the Denver Post or the Boston Globe. I’m talking about the country’s leading newspaper on business and economics. Two articles on professional football and on one particular player. And there’s an article in today’s New York Times and probably numerous papers around the country I did not have the time peruse. And there’s a good one posted to ESPN.com I read earlier today.

Personally, I abhor the excess of professional sport. Individual players make more than the payroll of teachers of most schools and probably some small school districts. And they seem to attract fans who would die before they approved a school board budget that would have an annual impact of $100 in taxes but they pay ten times that amount for season tickets to their local pro team. These premier and famous and overpaid athletes are more often than not—much more often than not—poor role models, have questionable values, and fail to use their influence and fame for good. There are exceptions, of course. Cal Ripken comes to mind. Tebow is currently the most well-known of them at the moment.

Did you know he wasn’t even the starting quarterback for Denver this season? That he saw little play at all last year? And now look how far and fast he has come. Impressive everyone is now talking about him given that he spends so much of his time helping the poor, dying, underprivileged, and downtrodden. He flies the suffering and hurting to every Denver game, home or away. And it’s not just a token. He spends time with them before and after the games, and attempts to corral others to do the same. He speaks of his faith, virginity, Baptist parents, and personal values without shame or hesitation. More than without shame or hesitation, he speaks of them with conviction, humility, sincerity, and power.

He’s a one-man brand and he attracts fans and haters alike. (Yup, sadly one of today’s articles was on those who have grown to hate him and anxiously, sadly await some fall or stumble, personal or professional.) But he is very clear in who he is, what he stands for, and in what he believes. He has won countless fans with his clarity and drawn many followers.

If he were an independent school, he’d be full with waiting lists. Long waiting lists. So what can we learn? Yes, many seem to dislike him and can’t wait for him to fail tonight but many adore him. And isn’t that the compelling argument for a strong brand: to strengthen the loyalty of those you seek and help those who are not a good match to go find their own Tebow elsewhere? Good luck to them.

Know who you are. Own who you are. Share who you are. And do it like Tebow: proudly and genuinely. And the right matches will be lining up at your admissions office door.

The great thing about tonight’s game is that whether or not Denver marches forward, Tim Tebow isn’t going to change.

Thank goodness.

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