Thursday, December 03, 2009

Sports: The Paladin

Football is, in many respects, a live-action RPG. Every player has a particular position (read: character class), the game is often mired in arcane rules that are refereed in real time, and dozens of statistics track the progress of every player and team. Penny Arcade probably expressed it best:

Last Saturday, UF quarterback Tim Tebow played his final home game in the Swamp. I wasn't there personally, but from what I saw on TV and the Web, the atmosphere was positively cinematic, almost as if a Cheesy Sports Movie was playing out in real-time. Here is Tim's final touchdown, accompanied by the flashbulbs of thousands of grateful Gator fans:

I only bring it up because Tebow is, for all intents and purposes, a paladin (of the old-school lawful good AD&D variety). His primary attributes are strength and charisma, and in battle, he leads by example. I've never met him, but from all accounts he seems to lead an impossibly chaste and pure life. Of course, that doesn't mean he can't throw out a fiery motivational speech:

Like an RPG paladin, Tebow uses his prowess on the field to convert people to his cause off the field. He's made no secret of his intention to use his football fame as a platform for his charitable and evangelical goals (the latter is often unceremoniously edited out by the sports media):

Tim Tebow's college campaign is almost at an end, with only two sessions left (Saturday's apocalyptic SEC confrontation with #2 Alabama, and possibly the BCS National Championship game). There will be many more adventures in the NFL, to be sure, but it's still unknown whether Tebow's unorthodox playing style or strong Christian faith will work in the ranks of the jaded pros. Like many of the great D&D campaigns, the magic of the first saga will probably never equalled.


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