Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NON Gator Fan loving Tebow

A lot of sports fans have a list of teams that they root against. (for whatever reason) For me it's the Yankees, Gators, and Manchester United....
But Tim Tebow puts me in a tough position... lovin' a guy that plays on a team you root against...

check this amazing story out:
(Naples News)
Posted September 10, 2009 at 9:01 p.m.
It isn’t everyday that a 7-year-old boy with cerebral palsy has the opportunity to meet his real life hero.
Fortunately for my grandson Boomer, he had the opportunity to meet University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer at the Winged Foot Scholarship Foundation annual banquet last May where Meyer was the keynote speaker.
In March, Boomer had undergone extensive surgery on his legs which required him to be in a full-length cast (which they applied in orange and blue). Boomer’s goal was to be able to get out of his wheelchair and walk up to shake Meyer’s hand when they met at Winged Foot. Boomer did not want to be in his wheelchair when he met his favorite coach.
I had explained all of this to Meyer prior to the event but I’m not sure he was emotionally prepared to watch Boomer struggle to get out of his chair and painfully take the two or three steps necessary to approach him. Meyer got down on one knee in order to meet and speak to Boomer and you could tell immediately he was moved by what he had just witnessed.
While speaking to Boomer, Meyer asked him if he would like to come up to Gainesville to meet his favorite player, Tim Tebow, take a tour of the athletic facilities, and then attend the football game the following day. Of course, Boomer was thrilled with the invitation as was the rest of his family, especially his mother who attended UF and is a huge Gator fan.
Plans were made for Boomer and family to travel to Gainesville for the season opener against Charleston Southern on Saturday, Sept. 5. Meyer’s assistant, Nancy Scarborough, made all of the arrangements and we met her at the stadium at 11:00 a.m. on Friday. Scarborough explained that Tebow would be in the coach’s office at 11:15 in order to meet Boomer, have some pictures taken and sign a few autographs before having to leave by 11:30 for media commitments.

During those 15 minutes, Tebow treated Boomer like he was his best friend. The attention and kindness he showed to Boomer was priceless, and the experience that was created was something that Boomer will never forget.

Tebow had to leave, but Meyer and Scarborough continued to show us around the office area. At one point, we went into Meyer’s office to take in all of the memorabilia on display. The coach was at his desk when he picked up a picture of him and Tebow hugging after the national championship game and proceeded to take it out of the frame and autograph it.
Suddenly, Tebow reappeared and also signed the picture before presenting it to Boomer as a memento of his trip. What happened next astounded all of us, with the exception of Meyer, when Tebow took control of Boomer’s wheelchair and proceeded to give us a guided tour of the entire stadium himself. Over the next one and a half hours, we visited the workout facilities, training room, locker room and the football stadium, all with Tebow pushing Boomer and leading the way.

We returned to the coach’s office to say goodbye to Meyer. As we were talking, Tebow turned to Boomer and said, “How would you like to come on the field with me tomorrow for the pre game warm-up?”
Meyer added, “And how about after the game you join us in the locker room to be a part of the post-game activities?”
It was no surprise that both offers were readily accepted with one of the biggest smiles you have ever seen.
Friday night, Boomer’s grandmother asked him if today was the greatest day of his life. Boomer replied that tomorrow will be the greatest day and today will be the second best. I’ll be darned if he wasn’t right.
As promised, as the team entered the Swamp for their pre-game warm-ups, Tebow ran on the field pushing Boomer in his wheelchair. As the team lined up for stretching, Tebow wheeled Boomer up and down every row of players so that he could shake all of their hands.

Boomer stayed on the field throughout the warm-ups watching his hero prepare for the game. Boomer was then escorted to a private box reserved for the coach’s wives and families to watch the game.
Towards the end of the fourth quarter, Boomer was taken down to the locker room where Tebow brought him in to celebrate the Florida victory along with the rest of the team. A football was passed around for every player to sign for Boomer, and then he was wheeled to the center of the room where he was surrounded by the entire team for their post-game prayer.
We will remember this experience for the rest of our lives and we will all be forever Gator fans for what we were so fortunate to have been a part of. We are so grateful to Meyer and Scarborough for all they did to make these two days the most special days in Boomer’s life, but we will never forget everything that Tebow did for Boomer.
Tebow did not need to take one and a half hours out of his day to spend with a 7-year-old boy who he had just met. Tebow did not need to invite this same boy to join him on the field for the pre-game warm-up or bring him into the locker room. Tebow did these things out of the goodness of his heart so that our grandson would have the experience of his life.
Meyer said, “It was just Tim being Tim,” and believe me, that is exactly what it was. Tebow wasn’t looking for recognition or a pat on the back for himself.
All Tebow wanted was to give a gift to a young boy who has struggled through many physical hardships and who has endured more than his share of pain.
Many Florida fans refer to Tebow as “Superman.” I used to snicker when I heard this.
Not anymore.
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Bud Hornbeck is the president and CEO of Naples-based Lutgert Insurance.

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