Even great players worry about their legacy fading over time. But in Tim Tebow's case, the more distance he puts between the present and the end of his celebrated tenure at Florida, the closer he seems to becoming a kind of genuine Gator oracle. His words were immortalized on campus while he was still there; a statue followed barely a year after his departure. He has sanctified sacred unions.
Last week, with his new book weighing down shelves with its pages of muscly compassion, the Tebow Child returned to Florida to summon the multitudes to area bookstores — outside of which the earliest members of the 1,000-plus throng dutifully withstood exposure to heat and elements and even Florida State fans to stand in line for more than 24 consecutive hours for a chance to touch the hem of his Dockers at the final stop of the tour Saturday in Orlando (emphasis added):
The battle cry came from a silver car driving through the parking lot. "Ohhhhhhhh, oh, oh," a guy shouted from the passenger seat. "How 'bout them 'Noles?"
Some among a group of 60 Gators fans — sitting under the warming Florida sun next to the East Colonial Drive Barnes & Noble in what the store deemed the "standby, standby, standby" line for Saturday's Tim Tebow book signing — shouted back. "Some FSU fan is looking to get shot," one said.
They'd been at the store since 7:30 that morning, hoping to get a wrist band to see Tebow at 2 p.m., when he will begin signing his new book, Through My Eyes. At precisely 10 a.m., they were told that people who had been in line since early Friday morning already claimed all of the wrist bands, including the extras.
Citizens of the "standby, standby, standby" line — aka the "Hail Mary" line — were beaten to the punch by almost a full day by the likes of Marlee Huggins, who showed up with her kids at 9 a.m. Friday to camp out for a wristband to the Saturday afternoon signing. A good effort, but still a little shy of the 30-hour wait endured by the first of the hundreds of Tebownians who lined up outside the Gainesville Wal-Mart for a signing last Thursday. That gathering was described as "chaos" even before the object of their obsession walked across water through the door.
At this rate, if things don't turn around soon for Florida on the field, Tebow will soon ascend to the top of the highest mountain in Denver, where verily, only the strongest and most patient members of the flock will be able to reach his makeshift temple after surviving the tests of faith. And then, trembling with awe in the splendor of Tebow's presence, they will asketh unto Him the most passionate of prayers: "Teacher, will you sign my No. 15 Reebok Field Flirt Fashion jersey?"
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.