January 15, 2012

"He’s a Quarterback, He’s a Winner, He’s a TV Draw, He's a Verb"

 One of the words in the running for "word of the year," was the verb "to tebow" (posing praying on one knee, after Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.) It did collect a number of votes in one of the WOTY categories of the American Dialect Society vote, but, alas, it was the category "least likely to succeed." Should the linguists have gotten it wrong? 
Around the world, people are “tebowing” — kneeling in prayer, with head resting on one hand, oblivious to surroundings, just as Tebow does after victories. Still, when a wedding party tebows in Las Vegas, or a couple tebows on Abbey Road in London, or two scuba divers tebow underwater in Belize, it can be hard to tell whether they are celebrating or mocking him for his virtuous ways. What, exactly, is it about Tim Tebow that so fascinates and provokes us? Why do some people project onto him the best of this country (humility, tenacity, plain old decency) — and the worst (sanctimoniousness, overexposure, political intolerance)?
Being profiled on ESPN and spoofed in SNL is one thing, but, as I said before: You've really made it when you've become a verb. (It certainly does not do any harm if your name sounds like a prefixed verb to begin with.)

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