In the current climate of television series Friday Night Lights and Last Chance U, not to mention the upcoming NFL season and the increase in television coverage in the UK of American football, I felt compelled to read a book I’ve had on my list for an age; Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow, with Nathan Whitaker. Although I remember the huge explosion in all things Tebow from 2007 onwards, the overtly religious Tebow had remained somewhat of an enigma for me, so I sought to put that right with this book. And I wasn’t disappointed – this is an honest and straight shooting book with the authors voice absolutely singing out from the pages.
Tebow’s book quite literally walks readers through his life and times ‘Through His Eyes’. Starting from his conception and his father’s promise to God to raise a ‘preacher’ if God were to grant him another son, we are introduced to Tim when he is actually in-utero and doctors are advising his mother to abort the foetus due to womb complications. Tebow is from a strongly evangelical family, who instead opted for prayer and faith to guide both mother and son to a successful birth and indeed, successful life.
Tim’s story is told with heart and passion – each chapter begins with a Bible verse (some of which, even to a Catholic unaccustomed to a more overt, celebratory Christianity, are impossible not to be inspired by), and we go with him through his high school AGE. Tebow, like his brothers and sisters, was home schooled by his mother whilst living on a farm; his efforts to play high school football and then to meet the academic requirements of college are to be applauded. In those early chapters, the reader is treated to a genuine glimpse of a loving, all American family with religion and football at its heart. It’s a bit like a warm, doughy cake, baked by Uncle Sam himself.
And that is Through My Eyes’ simplicity, and its strength, but to a degree, it’s a minor weakness. If readers are looking for a story of a complex quarterback, replete with a tortured existence within a sport that requires you to throw yourself in front of another 300lb man whose soul purpose is to run through you, Tebow’s book is not for you. This book is for those who love sport, love God, and love reading and walking the path of an excellent young man.
The simple chronological format doesn’t make this a William Hill Sports Book Award contender, but it is a wonderful, pure account of Tebow’s journey through football. It’s picture of college football is glossy, apple-pie-and-ice-cream glory – but with Tebow quarterbacking the Florida Gators in hugely successful seasons, the reviewer has to ask ‘why not?’ It’s refreshing to read a sports book untainted by a dark side.
For sports fans who want to live and feel a story of sport, pride, and ethereal emotion, you can’t go wrong with Through My Eyes. It may not be one that you remember as a game-changer, but everytime you hear the name Tim Tebow again, it’ll be a read that reminds you to smile and be grateful that such a stellar young gentleman has survived and succeeded in the ranks of professional football.
8 out of 10.