Welcome to Buy You a Drink, where GOOD's resident mixologist offers a free libation to one thirsty newsmaker each week. This week: Tim Tebow.
Two impressively large white men spend their days atop a mountain, hoping heathens will look upon their majestic beauty and find faith: Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro, and Tim Tebow of Denver.
This season, Tebow is the NFL’s 130-foot soapstone statue, dominating the skyline and rendering agnosticism about his athletic and religious influence impossible. As Tebow’s on-field comeback wins pile up, and his meme-generating powers compound, even football atheists have divided themselves into warring factions of Tebowmaniacs and Tebowphobes.
Each side boasts some surprising members. You would expect Tebow’s own bosses to be firmly in the pro-Tebow camp, but Broncos Head Coach John Fox and General Manager John Elway refuse to make unqualified statements of support for their quarterback even as he stiff-arms the Broncos back into contention. Tebow may have single-handedly saved their jobs, but to hear Fox and Elway tell it, the Broncos would have been better off with the McCown brothers of the world, predictable mediocrities who impress scouts with their brute arm strength but disgust fans with their inability to win football games.
Elway is not the only previous Broncos QB to pile on: This week, Jake Plummer, a man not known for his outspoken opinions, hit Tebow square in the stigmata, telling a sports radio show: “I think that when [Tebow] accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ, then I think I'll like him a little better.”
Count me among the unexpected Tebowmaniacs. Tebow’s sanctimonious championship runs irked me in college (particularly when he was running over Ohio State), and his Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad continues to gross me out. But I’ve been riveted by every minute of the Die Tebowlungen saga since his ascension to the NFL—including his pious response to Plummer.
As Dan LeBatard recently observed, every new Tebow development inflates the Tebow mythology even further, and somehow compels both his devotees and detractors to grip their convictions tighter than a string of rosary beads. Here’s a fun exercise: choose a historical figure, any figure, and see if you can’t analogize him or her to Tebow by cherry-picking the facts. “Tim Tebow is the John Bolton of quarterbacks: placed in an untenable position by cynical operators who openly root for him to fail, because the collapse of the entire institution to which he belongs would further their sinister agenda.” Or “Tim Tebow is the Joan of Arc of quarterbacks: called by God to lead men into battle, finding tremendous success by employing a combination of unexpected daring and unconventional tactics. Persecuted for his faith as soon as the wins stopped coming.” Look! Another meme!
This must be especially confusing for Tim Tebow. I’d like to buy him a drink.
The Call: Americana, Spiked.
I have no idea if Tebow is fond of a dram, but I’m sure that he can’t be seen (or worse, photographed) holding anything that will jeopardize his standing as hero to the Saving-Themselves-for-Jesus-or-a-Jonas set. We’ll need something that doesn’t look conspicuously boozy—perhaps something that can pose as an innocent ginger ale when the paparazzi (or proselytes) lurk nearby.
Tim the Redeemer:
2 oz. Leopold Bros. American Small Batch Whiskey
Cream soda (I used Fitz’s brand)
Pour whiskey into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with cream soda to taste. Garnish with an orange wheel. Sip with religious conviction.
I resisted the temptation to carry the soapstone sculpture thing further with a white whiskey as the base of this simple mixed drink, opting instead for something both delicious and geographically appropriate. Leopold Bros. distillery left Michigan—home of those sarcastic, sacrilegious bastards, the Detroit Lions—and made a pilgrimage westward. It is now based in Tebowtown itself, Denver.
The Leopold Bros. Small Batch is basic, grainy, almost wholesome tasting, like a boozy bowl of Wheaties. Mixing it with cream soda is like pouring sugar and milk on your cereal, and what could be more all-American than that? Other than football, that is. And public displays of affection for Jesus. And using a sports argument about a football player’s ability to succeed in an unconventional offense as a vehicle for discussing our deep-rooted national disagreements over the importance of religion in public life, what “progress” means in the 21st century, and how best to cope with the disintegrating myth of American exceptionalism.
Wait—I thought of another one: America is the Tim Tebow of countries: Big, thick, sunny in demeanor, and predominantly Christian. Allergic to finesse, and impervious to criticism. Prone to charging forward as a first resort. Coasting on last-minute victories, either oblivious to, or unable to correct, fundamental problems with mechanics.
It’s enough to drive a man down to one knee. Pour me another ginger ale, won’t you?
Photo via YouTube.com