The divide between winning and being a role model in sports is often a blur. Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow stride that line more than any new athlete. While the wins aren't high for them, are they already better role models than Tiger Woods ever was?
Linsanity considered divine intervention for New York Knicks
It took a lot of things to kick-start the rebirth of a charter NBA franchise but no one expected two injuries to key starters would do most of it. After Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire went down, the New York Knicks were desperate for anybody to step up. Willing to try anything, they gave a young undrafted point guard a chance off the bench. Months later that young Taiwanese-American revived basketball in the Big Apple and experts believe the Knicks are playoff bound. In the midst of all that drama and attention, Jeremy Lin has stayed remarkably grounded. He thinks the "Linsanity" craze that followed his arrival in the league was more divine intervention than watchful scouts or good coaches. Even while his popularity booms, Lin doesn't take the journey for granted. He is very gracious for the chances he got and aims to make the best of them while fighting hard to prove his story isn't a short one.
Tebow admires New York Jets corner Cromartie for backing Mark Sanchez
Media outlets are all too eager to start another NFL quarterback controversy. Tim Tebow getting traded to the New York Jets was to send a message to starter Mark Sanchez that his cushioned days are over. In responses, Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie called Tebow out saying the situation was a joke. Where other stars may have had a creative retort to the blatant shot, Tebow didn't bite. He graciously praised Cromartie for doing the right thing and sticking up for Sanchez. It's just another example of the deeply rooted beliefs Tebow stands by. For all his competitive spirit, off the field he is a loyal player who won't add fuel to any fires that might cause problems for his team. He won't comment on his aiming for Sanchez's job because it's not his decision. Tebow cares about helping the Jets win, no matter how he does it.
Woods can't escape his past even as he recaptures his winning form
Then there is Tiger Woods. Any sports fan knows what he's about. His major championship wins make his the best golfer of the new millennium, a premier athlete of any era. Yet many people now remember him only for being a devious husband who cheated with several different mistresses. Three of those women added to Woods' frustration by filming a movie about the incident. So now instead of focusing on winning his 15th major at The Masters, fans could return to memories of his tragic low point. No can fault Woods as a human being. Lots of people cheat and get caught. It's a fact of nature. However, when an entire generation of young golf fans look up to him as a role model, every mistake gets blown up. Tiger is the best golfer of the least decade at least, but with Lin and Tebow as fresh examples, did he ever deserve the title of a role model?
It's not about the New York Knicks or Mark Sanchez. Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow shouldn't get attention for the jerseys they where. They are two young men who wanted a chance to play with the best in the world at their sports and they took it with gracious hands. Tiger Woods fought for what he earned too. The difference is he never appreciated what he had.