WHEELING - Since childhood sports has been my life. I was the guy at the lunch table whose friends would ask random statistics, knowing full well I had memorized all the important ones.
So I feel as though there's enough background there to qualify me to make the following statement: Never have I witnessed a person who has apparently never spoken an ill word, nor done anything you would call questionable, as poked, prodded and dissected as one Timothy Richard Tebow.
From a journalist's perspective, there's more than a little hypocrisy involved.
On one hand we rail against the guys who can't handle the money and the fame - the ones out in strip clubs at 3 a.m. 'making it rain,' unloading clips from their semi-automatic weapons, driving home while intoxicated and being nuisances in general. But this Tebow guy? Hey, he's too squeaky clean.
That line of thinking, though, is obviously garbage. Safe to say most wish they had the type of relationship with God that this young man does. It's admirable, to say the least.
When beaten off with a stick, the naysayers then start criticizing Tebow's game. OK, so he doesn't throw an eye-pleasing ball, he's often late making his reads, and he runs more than anything else - a supposed no-no if you're going to be an elite quarterback in the NFL.
The line between winning and losing in this league is so minuscule, that it shouldn't - no, it doesn't - matter how you win. Last I checked, Tebow has started seven games and won six of those.
Don't be angry that Tebow is a harder worker than you. Don't be ashamed that he has more faith than you. And certainly don't be jealous because he's where you would like to be.
How about just sitting back and appreciating the fact we finally have a good human story to pull for, instead of always trying to find some kind of fault.
Gino Goes National
Congratulations are in order for Wheeling Central tailback Gino Bianconi, who has been named the East Region's Football Player of the Week by ESPN.
A senior, Bianconi set all-class records as the Maroon Knights beat Williamstown, 35-21, last Saturday night for their second state championship in a row, and eighth since 2000. He ran for 355 yards and five touchdowns on 39 carries, taking on an increased load when quarterback Parker Henry suffered a hip-pointer on the third play of the game.
For the season, his only as a starter, Bianconi rushed for 2,132 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net