The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 31, 2010

'Finish strong'

Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tebow commends Justice on community impact

By Jim Workman

One Tebow-ism goes “Superman wears Tim Tebow pajamas.”

The sayings, which have even warranted their own Internet Web site started by devoted fans, demonstrate the incredible status that the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback built while at the University of Florida.

Yes, it is possible that maybe even the Man of Steel looks up to Tebow.

Tebow began his keynote speaking engagement for the Big Atlantic Classic Tip-Off Banquet Sunday, however, by citing a newfound hero of his.

A local guy.

Jim Justice.

“I hope that one day later on my career in about 20 or 30 years, I can leave the same type of impact that Mr. Justice has left with you all,” said Tebow. “Because I don’t usually judge somebody as much by meeting them in person. I judge them by looking at the people that he or she has impacted with their lives. By meeting literally hundreds of people already today, and seeing the kind of impact that Mr. Justice has had on this community, I think ‘Wow, that’s a challenge to me.’ I want to live up to that.

“I’d like to be able to hear people say ‘Good job, you impacted my life. Thank you so much.’”

A large crowd attended the tip-off event for this week’s Big Atlantic Classic basketball tournament, held at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

Tebow is now embarking on a professional football career. He has hopes of being selected in the NFL draft this April. In preparation for it, he played in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Saturday before flying to Beckley for the event a day later.

“It’s been a whirlwind this week,” Tebow admitted. “I went through a lot of scrutiny there.

“I think I even heard some pro coaches critiquing me and saying ‘I don’t think he ties his shoelaces fast enough,’ and ‘His hair is always gelled,’” Tebow joked. “But it’s exciting for me. It’s an opportunity for me to reach my dream of playing in the NFL.

“There’s been a lot of people that have told me that I couldn’t accomplish my goals — of being a college quarterback, too. They said I was too short, too slow and too sorry, that I have a long windup. A lot of people are still telling me that I can’t reach my dreams (of playing in the NFL). You know what that does for me? It makes me work that much harder.”

Tebow’s three-point message to the area youth in the crowd was simple:

n Take action.

“It’s not the dreamers that are remembered, it’s the doers,” Tebow reminded the crowd. “Just having a dream doesn’t mean much if you don’t start at it. You have to take action. Everyday I try to do something to get better.

“One quote that I like is ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,’” Tebow added. “Hard work beats talent every time. You can win with hard work in any area of life, in sports, in business and in the classroom.”

n Live with passion.

“If you saw me play at the University of Florida, I hope and pray that you could say that I lived and played with passion,” Tebow said. “People follow passionate people. Living with passion is a choice. People want to be on a team with someone passionate. You want to do business with someone who is passionate. You’ll thrive because enthusiasm is contagious.”

n Finish strong.

“You need to finish what you start,” Tebow urged. “You can’t lose your passion or quit. No one wants to be around a quitter.

“Those three points are why I’ve been able to overcome the obstacles in my life. When people said I couldn’t, I did. And I will.”

Reportedly, Tebow is beginning his workouts for the NFL draft today in Nashville.

“I’m trying to finish my dream of playing in the NFL,” Tebow said. “A lot of people are saying that I can’t do it. We’ll see. But I am going to take action, live with passion and finish strong. I’m going to do whatever it takes.”

— E-mail: jworkman@