Sports

Here’s Why I Think Tim Tebow Will Make It in the Majors

Yesterday, ESPN posted this fantastic article about MLB players who are rooting for Tim Tebow as he continues his journey to Citi Field. I loved seeing so much support from the league’s All-Stars, especially after hearing so many say they don’t think he’ll be able to make it. I think he’ll make it, and here’s why.

He has raw power behind the plate, for one thing. It seems like every week you see another video of him hitting a home run, and I think part of that comes from his strength. No, he’s not built like a baseball player, but it’s paying off.

And while we’re talking about batting, let’s mention the fact that he’s also becoming more consistent behind the plate. Since being promoted to Port Saint Lucie, his batting average has improved to .318 and he currently has a .972 on base percentage. He’s on a nine game hitting streak, and he’s moved from seventh in the batting line-up to sixth.

He’s also made great a few plays in the field since moving to PSL. I think everyone saw the video of him robbing Fort Meyers first baseman Zandal Weil of a home run. He’s improving all-around, which could lead to another promotion sooner than we think.

He’s also making a difference off the field. He’s a leader in the clubhouse, but more than that, he impacts the community he’s in. Last summer, he stopped and prayed with a man having a heart attack, and this summer, he’s spent time with numerous kids from his foundation who have come to his games. Tim Tebow impacts and inspires others wherever he is, and I think that’s a trait of success as well.

Of course he has to room to improve in certain areas. Don’t we all? But if there’s one thing I know about Tim Tebow, it’s that he will put in the work and the time to get better and make his dream of being a major league player a reality. I won’t be surprised to see him playing at Citi Field, and I’m behind him all the way.

Sports

Team USA Fights in Loss to Japan

After a stellar 7-0 start in the World Cup of Softball, Team USA fell to the defending World Cup champions, losing the game 2-1. But I think that when softball fans look back on this game and this tournament, I think what will be remembered is the spirit and heart the team showed throughout the game.
Even after Japan scored their first run, the ladies were resilient, continuing to give their all and play to the best of their ability. And when Aubree Munro hit an RBI single, they played with even more fire, something that was evidenced by Kelsey Stuart’s incredible double play.

It reminded me of why I love the game of softball. Softball is so much more than runs scored or outs recorded; it’s about battling through adversity and never giving up, no matter what’s going on. Watching the way those women played and fought today inspired and encouraged me to keep stretching, keep going to physical therapy, and keep fighting to overcome my cerebral palsy and become independent. Because as Team USA showed today, if you work hard and put your heart into what you do, you’re a winner no matter what.

Also, how awesome was it to see five Gators on the field today? It’s always great to be a Florida Gator!

Florida Gators · Sports

The Year in Florida Sports (So Far)

Moments ago, Florida’s baseball team advanced to the championship series of the College World Series with a win over TCU. I thought I’d take the moment to not only highlight the boys’ accomplishment, but the accomplishments of Florida sports so far this year. So far in 2017, Florida has:

  • Defeated Iowa in the Outback Bowl 30-3
  • Advanced to the Elite Eight in basketball
  • Captured our third straight regular season SEC title in softball
  • Been crowned SEC Champs in baseball
  • Won the national title in women’s tennis
  • Won the national championship in men’s track and field
  • Advanced to the championship series in the Women’s College World Series
  • Advanced to the championship series in the College World Series

In addition, here are a few staggering statistics, via Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin:

  • UF has won 38 national championships
  • We have won a national championship in each of the previous nine academic years
  • This year, 13 Gator sports teams finished ranked in the top ten in the country, with ten teams finishing ranked in the top five

As the saying goes, it’s always great to be a Florida Gator.

What has been your favorite moment in sports so far this year? No, it doesn’t have to be Florida related. ūüôā

Sports

Will Grier

Earlier in the week, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen announced that starting quarterback Will Grier will be eligible to play after serving an NCAA suspension for violating their PED policy.

In 2015, Grier was suspended for after leading the Gators to a 6-0 start. He had violated the NCAA’s PED policy, and as a result, he was suspended for not only the rest of the 2015 season, but for all of the 2016 season as well. Not surprising many, at the end of the season, Grier announced he would transfer from UF.

He landed in the PAC-12 and is now a West Virginia Mountaineer.  In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Grier said he felt an almost immediate connection with Holgerson, and committed to West Virginia after Holgerson told him, “Don’t worry about anything. We’re going to stick with you no matter what, even if you can’t play the first six games of 2017. We want you.” Now, it’s known that Grier will get to play at the beginning of this season, and ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt is convinced he will win the Heisman.

My Thoughts on Grier

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know I’m a die-hard Gator fan. And, like the rest of Gator Nation, I was shocked to learn of Grier’s suspension. However, unlike many Florida fans I know, I view the incident as a mistake made by a twenty-year old kid. Should he have checked with the trainer before he took the drug? Absolutely. But here’s the thing: He’s still growing up. He’s still learning. I believe the PED situation was something he learned from, and I think he’s going to take the college football world by storm at the beginning of the season, much like he did at UF. I’m excited to see what he’ll do, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Scott Van Pelt’s prediction ends up being right.

What are your thoughts on Will Grier?

Sports

This is What Sports Are All About

I was surfing the Internet and came across¬†this story¬†on ESPN¬†about a young boy fighting cancer who had the opportunity to lead Kentucky’s football team out of the tunnel before their spring game, and it made me think: this is why sports are so important. It’s not about the wins or the losses; it’s not about the championships or defeats. It’s about the lives that are impacted and the people that are inspired because of them.

Sports have had a huge impact on my life. Even though I’ve never been able to play, I’ve grown up watching football, basketball, and everything in between with my family. I love them. I was- and still am- so inspired by former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. I love how strong in his faith he is, I love how he never gives up, and I love how he goes out of his way to brighten someone else’s day. I’ve had the blessing of meeting him and getting to know him, and every time I see him, I’m blown away by how kind and compassionate he is. He’s everything you see on TV and more, and I’m not sure he knows just how much he’s impacted my life.

That’s one of the reasons I loved this article about what the Kentucky football team is doing for Ryan and his family. This is something he’ll remember for the rest of his life; it’s something he’ll lean into and think about when he has a rough day. By visiting him and showing him so much kindness, they’re giving him memories he’ll never forget, and they’re impacting his life in profound ways. They’re using their platform as football players to make a difference, and that is what sports is truly about. Not wins, not losses, not games, not practices, but impacting and inspiring others.

Sports

Tim Tebow Smashes Another Home Run

He did it in his first Grapefruit League game.

And then he did it in his minor league debut, sending the ball flying over the fence and putting two more runs on the board for the Columbia Fireflies.

And last night, he did it yet again; this time it was a three run home run. He rounded the bases, and then began celebrating with his teammates as the crowd went crazy. It’s Tebow Time in Columbia.

After he had a .148 spring practice average, many doubted he would be successful in baseball. Some thought his tenure with the Mets had ended. But instead, he was promoted to the Columbia Fireflies, the Mets Class A affiliate in Columbia, South Carolina, where he is again making news headlines and surprising baseball fans around the country. Suddenly, it seems as if his baseball dream isn’t so far-fetched after all.

Baseball, he said in a recent interview, was his first love, and the decision to pursue football instead was one of the hardest he’s made in his life. He said that even as he chased his football dreams, he never stopped watching baseball; in fact, he was in a batting cage when Chip Kelly called to offer him a tryout with the Eagles. Now, he has the opportunity to play the sport he loves, and chase another dream. He’s going to take it.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Tim Tebow, it’s that you should never count him out. He’s a hard-working, extremely dedicated athlete who will put in the hours and do the work he needs to do to get where he wants to be. He pours passion into everything he does- I’ve heard him speak, and even when he’s giving speeches you can hear how much he believes in what he’s saying. Now, that passion is showing up on the baseball field, and he’s showing the world that he’s still the incredible athlete newspapers wrote about ten years ago. He’s still built like a football player, and I believe that strength has something to do with the home runs he keeps hitting.

Yes, this dream may be a big one. No, it’s not likely he’ll make it into the majors. But Tim Tebow has shown again and again that he’s capable of doing the incapable, and if anyone can achieve this feat, it’s Tim. Don’t count him out, and don’t be surprised if you see him in Citi Park, wearing orange and blue again and living out his dream of being a pro baseball player.

Florida Gators · Sports

From Sweet to Elite

“Did you watch the Florida game last night?” a family friend asked me earlier today. She knew the answer before she asked.

Of course I did.

Now, I am a little ashamed to admit that I slept through the majority of the first half. I fell asleep twenty minutes until tip off, and woke up to find there were four minutes left in the first half, and my Gators were losing. It didn’t take me long to figure out things hadn’t gone our way, and we had to clean things up if we wanted to walk away with a W. The guys must have known it too, because that was right around the time when the team came alive and balls began swishing through the hoop. The Gators went into the half with a 34-32 lead, and momentum for the second half.

That wind stayed in our sails for most of half number two, as we stayed hot and balls continued to rain through the hoop. Junior KeVaughn Allen led the dominance; after starting slowly, he came away with a UF record 35 points in an NCAA Tournament Match. There was also stellar defense: with less than ten minutes half, at least three Wisconsin starters were in foul trouble, giving Florida a major advantage heading into the last few minutes of regulation. The win was so close, we could taste it.

But then, Wisconsin came storming back, scoring a much needed three pointer to tie the game and send it into what would become an overtime that will be remembered long after this tournament ends.

There were four seconds left on the clock. We were down 81-83, and no timeouts to stop the clock and draw up a play. If we didn’t somehow get a basket, this game-and our season- would be over. This was it.

Canyon Barry threw the ball to Chris Chiozza, and what happened next is why this tournament is called March Madness. Chiozza took the ball, flew down the court, and, with the clock about to hit zero, threw it toward the basket from behind the three point line.

It went in.

The Florida bench-and all of Gator Nation- went ballistic. We had survived to play another game, and our magical post season ride continues. Next up is the South Carolina Gamecocks, who we’ve played twice this season. The series is even, with each team winning at home. They beat us by four in Columbia, and we returned the favor in Gainesville, winning by fifteen points. It’s an even match up, with both teams playing the best ball they have all season. South Carolina no doubt wants revenge for what happened in February, but so does Chris Chiozza,¬†who scored only four points¬†in Florida’s loss to the Gamecocks.

In other words: game on.

My¬†keys to today’s game are very similiar to what they were¬†last game, with the addition of two things: free throws and aggressive play. We missed a few at the line that would’ve made the game a lot less nerve wracking had they gone in. And we must play aggressively all game. If we let up at the end against South Carolina the way we did against Wisconsin, it will come back to bite us. We’re playing hot right now, but so are they. We need to shoot aggressively and defend aggressively the entire game. If we do, we’re headed to Glendale, Arizona for the Final Four next weekend.