This past Saturday, Christian-based, non-profit organization Agape Child & Family Services held its 15th annual HeartLight fundraising event featuring Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow.
Clad in a red-and-white plaid shirt, jeans and loafers, Tebow was greeted with a standing ovation as he entered the FedexForum. He opened up to the crowd of a couple thousand about his upbringing, his love for Jesus Christ, and how he got involved in sports.
“I was the baby of five,” Tebow explained. “I grew up on a farm on the west side of Jacksonville, [Florida]. I had four older siblings, so you learn to be competitive at an early age. We always competed in the yard. By the time I started playing sports, I was four, about to turn five. [My parents] signed me up for T-ball. The last thing I’d do on Saturday [was] play a game, but the first thing I would do on Sunday [was] go to church. When I’d go, I’d tell everybody, ‘look, I hit three home runs yesterday. I went four for four.' At a young age, I was very arrogant, very proud.”
Boasting a haughty personality during his childhood didn't sit well with his mother. She made Tebow memorize bible verses on humility because of this, such as Proverbs 15:33, James 4:6, and 2 Chronicles 7:14. He had to repeat the verses word for word to her before his weekly games. He said this eventually lead to him becoming a more humble athlete.
“I realized you are no better just because you’re decent at a sport,” Tebow said. “It doesn’t make you special just because you can play baseball, football, basketball—those are just gifts from God. We’re all blessed with different gifts but that doesn’t make us more special or better. God gave us a gift and it’s about how we use it for his honor and his glory.”
Tebow is known universally for his signature prayer after scoring touchdowns and also for wearing references to biblical verses on his eye black during his college football career with the Florida Gators. [In 2010, the NCAA's Football Rules Committee introduced a new rule that banned all words, logos, numbers or other symbols on a players' eye black. It was dubbed “The Tebow Rule.”] Tebow revealed that he came up with the idea to put Bible verses in his eye black shortly before playing the Tennessee Volunteers his junior year.
“I’m in the training room getting ready for the game and I see a bunch of my teammates putting on eye-blackener under their eyes,” Tebow said. “I start thinking, ‘if I took a silver Sharpie and I wrote something on there, maybe I could inspire someone.' I start thinking, ‘God bless? No.’ Then all of a sudden I think of Philippians 4:13: 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' I said, ‘perfect. That’s what I’m going to go with.’ So I put it under my eyes, and we went out there and played and beat Tennessee. Every single week, I wore that under my eyes. By the end of the year when we were getting ready to play Alabama in the SEC championship, thousands of Gator fans were wearing Philippians 4:13 under their eyes.”
By the time the Gators played the University of Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship, Tebow had changed the Bible verse to John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” He said he did this because the verse is the essence of Christianity
After Tebow wore the scripture during the championship game on Jan. 8th, 2009, more than 90 million people Googled John 3:16.
“I said, ‘how the heck did 90 million people not know John 3:16’,” he jokingly reminisced.
Three years later on Jan 8th, 2012, Tebow and the Denver Broncos played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL playoffs. During that game, he threw for 316 yards. His yards per rush were 3.16. His yards per completion were 31.6, his time of possession was 31.6, and the ratings for the night were 31.6 percent of all U.S. households. It became known as the 3:16 Game.
Aside from football and Christianity, Tebow also spoke about the philanthropy he does through his Tim Tebow Foundation, and what sparked his interest in helping others.
“When I was 15 years old, I went on my first missions trip outside the U.S.,” Tebow said. “I was in the Philippines and we were speaking at hospitals, market places, and prisons, all over the place. But it wasn’t until one day I was at an orphanage and I was playing with orphans who had been raped and beaten; we were telling them that God loves them and cares about them, and you could see their lives change. You could see the joy in their life. It was amazing. It changed my life. I realized at that moment, I want to be the best quarterback that I can possibly be, but more than that, what I want to do with my life is impact lives, and that’s why I decided I wanted to start the Tim Tebow Foundation, which was going to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”
The event was ended with a prayer by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. The event raised more than $600,000.
There are so many things that come to mind when a person thinks of Memphis. It's a city known for popularizing rock and blues. It's home of some of the best barbecue in the nation. And it's plagued with some of the country’s highest levels of poverty, homelessness, and crime.
Although all of the aforementioned things are accurate about Memphis, individual perceptions of the city vary tremendously. How one person views the city may be totally different from another person's perception.
Artist Walter “Sir Walt” Andrade is providing people with a look into his personal interpretation of the city through “Mudworkz with Memphis,” his month-long art exhibit. He’s created more than 20 original, three-dimensional (3D) graphic art pieces for the exhibit.
“Everything in [the exhibit] started as an idea in my head, and instead of drawing it on a piece of paper or taking a photograph, I decided to push the envelope and do something out of the ordinary,” Andrade said.
The opening reception for the exhibit took place Monday, June 3rd at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library. The exhibit will remain open until June 29th.
Andrade created all of the pieces in the exhibit from scratch using salvaged sheetrock, construction mud, wood, and paint — hence the name of his company, Mudworkz. Aside from 3D graphic art, the company specializes in interior design and construction.
“Mudworkz with Memphis” boasts 3D graphic art of people like Mayor A C Wharton, Zach Randolph, B.B. King, Knowledge Knick, as well as Andrade’s personal friends from "The Word," an event that takes place every Monday at the Rumba Room.
There’s also a “Mudworkz Memorial” section with portraits of deceased Memphians such as slain Memphis Police Officer Martoiya Lang, weatherman Mark Walden, and Isaac Hayes (this piece is designed in a style similar to the cross-shaped layout you see when the cover art from Hayes' Black Moses is unfolded). All of the memorial pieces will be donated to the families of the individual after the exhibit concludes.
“This idea for Mudworkz Memorial kind of came by accident. When I was planning this exhibit, all of the people were alive besides Isaac Hayes,” said Andrade, who’s been brainstorming the exhibit for more than a year. “I was working as these people were passing away. I was like ‘Let me do a Mudworkz for this one. Let me do a Mudworkz for that one.’ I thought about it and said, ‘Let me do a whole display of people who I was close to in some type of way, or had some connection to.’”
Anyone interested in purchasing artwork from the exhibit can place an order with Andrade, and he’ll provide a duplicate copy. The prices vary from a couple hundred to more than $1,000 depending on the size. He charges $75 per square foot. On average, pieces takes Andrade four or five days to complete.
In addition to the memorial section, there's also “Mudworkz Nature,” in which Andrade has taken decaying bark and created 3D graphic artwork in different designs from it.
Andrade said he hopes the exhibit encourages people to take a step outside of their comfort zone and do something extraordinary.
“What I want people to get out of Mudworkz is inspiration. That’s what drives me,” Andrade said. “I [want to] inspire somebody from my artwork to pursue something in their life, because all of this started from nothing. It started from a bag of sheetrock and some wood that I had in my basement, and it just arose from there.”
Check out the Mudworkz Facebook page to view more of Andrade's artwork.
Those interested in having some artwork, construction or interior design done, can contact Andrade via email: email@example.com or by phone: (901) 570-3917