Often, the deepest, most moving form of inspiration is born out of tragedy. That is certainly the case in the story of Virginia Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Timothy Martin, who was 17 when he watched the man charged with his brother’s attempted murder and the murder of his brother’s girlfriend stand trial more than 17 years ago. Both victims were shot in the head. Martin’s brother survived, but the girlfriend did not.
Martin watched as prosecutor Learned Barry took command of the courtroom as he successfully sought conviction and a death sentence for the shooter. Martin got his law degree and sought out Barry as a mentor. Martin now prosecutes violent cases for the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
A story on Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is low-hanging fruit for us. It’s a little too easy to line him up as another athlete with an inspiring story on this website and write an article about the man who to us is such an inspiration and a great story that should make everyone smile, at least just a little, and feel good inside. So we didn’t do our own piece, we waited for the other media to write one. And we waited all season. We waited while the Tebow-bashing and criticizing played out in the mainstream media.
Frankly, it confuses us that anyone could watch this athlete, understand his back story, and come up with the conclusion that his is anything but an inspiring story. Most of the media doesn’t seem to get it. Which just goes to show you how out of touch most of the mainstream media is with mainstream America.
Eighty-five percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. So you’d think that Tebow giving praise to his “Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” very publicly after every game would be no big deal, not news, not a “man bites dog” story, but the opposite. Other football players at every level get on bended knee for a brief moment, bow their heads, cross themselves when they’ve scored a touchdown. Not all of them, of course, but enough to notice. Maybe Tebow, whose kneeling pose in prayer has become known as “Tebowing,” holds his prayer a little longer than the others. Or maybe it’s that he’s been so open about his faith, that when he points his finger to heaven reflecting the cheers and applause that shower down upon him when he scores up to a higher power, everyone knows exactly what the gesture means. Other athletes do it constantly. But maybe there’s some ambiguity in their gestures because they don’t talk about their faith as openly as Tebow does.
A little background on Tim Tebow, just in case you didn’t know (and you might not, because most of the media doesn’t focus on the back story):
• Tim was born to Baptist missionary parents in the Philippines.
• While she was pregnant with Tim, his mother, Pam, suffered a life-threatening infection. She went into a coma. She also suffered from dysentery. She was treated with an array of drugs as a result – drugs that shouldn’t be used on a pregnant woman, because of the danger to the fetus. She pulled through her illness, but doctors warned her to expect her baby to be stillborn. They said if Tim went to term and survived, that he could be severely disabled as a result of the drug treatments she received. They asked her to consider an abortion. Pam refused.
• In a high school game as a sophomore, Tebow hurt his right leg on a play in the first half of a game. His coach told him to toughen up, that it was probably just a bruise. Tebow continued to play and in the fourth quarter, ran for a score-tying 29-yard touchdown. After the game, x-rays showed a broken fibula. And not just a hairline fracture – a “jagged break of his lower leg,” as his coach described it. He didn’t play the rest of the year.
You’ve probably seen this drink commercial, “Appreciate That,” where Tebow outlines the things people have said he couldn’t do:
Overcoming adversity? Yeah, just a little. Inspirational? We think so.
We wanted to highlight this piece of commentary by the Miami Herald’s Linda Robertson: Inspirational or offensive, Tim Tebow’s no phony. Unfortunately, however, her column is no longer accessible through the Miami Herald website, so we’ve had to link to the only place on the web we’ve been able to find it. It’s poorly copied and pasted — there are no paragraphs and some sentences run into the next, but it’s still readable. We hope you enjoy it.
Betty Ford, former First Lady and wife of late former President Gerald Ford died yesterday at the age of 93. She admitted a long-time addiction to alcohol and prescription pain-killers and her recovery from them led her to open the Betty Ford Center to help others similarly addicted. Read the full story.
Now if this woman isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what you would define as inspirational. Meet Ernestine Shepherd, now 74 years old and in the best shape of her life! She’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest female bodybuilder ever. She didn’t even start working out until she was 56 — she got motivated to get healthier after her sister passed away from brain aneurysm.
Here’s a little window into her workout regimen — remember, this is at the age of 74: She wakes up at 3am every day to begin her fitness routine, but first, she takes time out for devotionals; then she gets her day going with a 10-mile run, after which she does weight training. She can bench press 150 pounds.
“Don’t let life pass you by,” she says. “You can be fit. I feel so much better now in my 70s than I did in my 40s.”
“We train kids to deal with teachers in a certain way: Find out what they want, and do that, just barely, because there are other things to work on. Figure out how to say back exactly what they want to hear, with the least amount of effort, and you are a ‘good student.'”
What’s your plan for living an inspired life? By giving your teachers and your bosses what you think they want? Or will you break free of that conformist construct and truly strive to live a life inspired on?
If you see a bit of a proliferation of bow ties during Fox Sports’ baseball coverage this year, don’t be surprised. There’s an interesting and inspiring story behind them, brought to you by baseball writer (and former Baltimore Sun sports columnist) Ken Rosenthal. Here’s the story: Bow Ties on Fox.
UPDATE: The original video we were linking to, illustrated above with a frame-grab from the footage, was on the Military Times multimedia video web page. It has since been pulled down, but we found it here, on YouTube. It’s a bit graphic, there’s some raw language, there is certainly some raw emotion, but it is an absolutely amazing piece of reportage that chronicled a soldier’s journey after being hit by an RPG while riding in a Humvee while on patrol in Afghanistan. It’s 6:46 minutes long, and worth watching every second: Live RPG Removed from soldier.
Army protocol dictates that Specialist Channing Moss, who as the soldier struck by the rocket-propelled grenade, be isolated in an area where he would be forced to either wait to die from his wounds, or be killed by an explosion from the RPG that had impaled him and which was still inside him. Army protocol states that Medivac choppers are never to carry anyone with a live round in him. But the flight crew flew him to the nearest aid station anyway. Army protocol states that a patient like Specialist Moss is to be put in a sandbagged area away from the surgical unit, given a shot of morphine and left to wait until others are treated. The medical team ignored the protocol.
The video includes some actual footage of the surgery where Dr. John Oh, a Korean immigrant who became a naturalized citizen and went to West Point, removed the round with the help of volunteers and a member of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal team. It’s a remarkable story about the people who got involved at great risk to their own safety and lives to help a fellow soldier: Live RPG Removed From Soldier.
By now you’ve most likely heard the name Ted Williams in the news. No, not the deceased baseball great, but this Ted Williams: Homeless Man With a Golden Voice.
The story of Ted Williams initially was reported by the Columbus Dispatch. They’ve got an entire page devoted to coverage of him now: The Man With the Golden Pipes.
But which story of inspiration do you take from Ted Williams’ riches-to-rags-to-riches story?
There’s a back-story, as there usually always seems to be in these kinds of stories, to Ted’s recent burst onto the scene after that initial Columbus Dispatch video went viral and was viewed some 13 million times. It’s complicated, that back-story, but the threads all tug at your emotions. Which one is the story of inspiration? The one of Ted, battling with various addictions, living on the streets, being rediscovered? Or the one of his former wife, a woman who raised the couple’s four daughters as a single mom, and who also took in another child that Ted had with another woman? Here’s that story in today’s New York Daily News. In all, Ted has nine children.
Or is it, perhaps, Ted’s 90-year-old mother, who gave up trying to cope with her son and gave him up to God to watch over, praying for him all the while, and all the while trying to convince her son to embrace God. She’s been a member of her church for more than 50 years. She spelled out her story on this morning’s “Good Morning America” show.
Wherever you look throughout the timeline of this story, there are numerous levels of inspiration. Where do you find yours?