If you've followed NFL football at all this season, you've probably come across a phenomenon that sports pundits and fans alike have labeled "Tebowing."
For those of you who've had better things to do than watch a multi-billion dollar industry amass another multi-billion dollars this fall, let me explain:
Tim Tebow is a fairly new Denver Bronco quarterback who once led the Florida Gators to glory and, at times, choses to thank God for his success on the field by falling to one knee in prayer. Folks call this "Tebowing."
Then someone, somewhere, thought it would make a good joke. Players on opposing teams mocked him by falling to one knee. TV talk show guests guffawed. Folks on YouTube re-enacted it. It went viral.
But hey, God and sports are not a new phenomenon.
I've been a football fan since I was old enough to change channels on the TV. I can remember more than a few players expressing their thanks to the "Man Upstairs" on the field. I saw and heard many in the 60's "testify." I remember several players who flashed "Jesus One Way" signs in the 70's.
And Tebow wasn't the first player to drop to a knee to give honor to God after a good play. Heck, when I was in college in south Florida there were a number of the invincible and undefeated Miami Dolphins who attended bible studies at my alma mater and were not ashamed about doing so (can you say Captain Crunch Mike Kolen?)
Or how 'bout all those place kickers through the years whose names end in vowels crossing themselves before a field goal attempt?
And what's up with that wild-haired Polamalu fellah from the Steelers whose spirituality would give some desert monks a run for their money?
Okay. Let me get to my point.
I would never think about asking any of them to stop doing these things even if I may not completely understand it all. Because I know that their faith drives them and it makes them who they are. To take that away or seek to diminish it would be robbing them of their inspiration. (Order up the flick Chariots of Fire on Netflix if I've lost you. No, wait. Order it up anyway. It's that good.)
So I say let Tebow or any other faith-filled sportsperson take a knee, whether Christian, Muslim or Jew. It's who they are. At least they realize that their talent, somehow, is a gift that's been entrusted to them.
And now let us move on to culinary excellence.
I've met more than a few great chefs over the past 30 years and not many would take a knee for anything, not even to wipe up a spill. They were so full of themselves that one has to wonder how there'd be enough room in the kitchen for a decent skillet, let alone a sous chef.
It's funny, but for some reason, those of us who are great in the kitchen feel we're great because we...well, dammit...are just great, thank you very much.
And as the wonderful aromas fill the kitchen space around us "talented" chefs, egos rise like a fine souffle.
I'm not having any of it.
For me, culinary expertise is a gift just like any talent. The ability to taste, to tweak, to cook is all on loan. Those of us so blessed are responsible to hone it. But I haven't met many chefs who feel that way. To them it's self-induced and self-constructed and, therefore, allows for a good bit of ego-inflation.
But not all.
I've met some who understand that their talent with a skillet, olive oil, onions and garlic is a gift. And they're humbled by that fact.
I long to count myself among their number.
So if my next meal pleases the palates of my guests? Perhaps you just might catch a glimpse of me "Tebowing" in the darkness of my pantry. Because being thankful for whatever talent I might have is something I will strive for.
A few days ago we celebrated Thanksgiving. Who did you give thanks to? I know I'm trying to gain some perspective on this whole talent thing. And I think I'm starting to get it.
But...If the mere mention of "God-thanks" ticks you off, then take a knee and Tebow for me. :-)
For the rest of us? I have some wine chilled. Now...which one of us will plate and who will say grace?