The athlete talks about sports, faith and his life's purpose

By Steve Helling
June 02, 2018 04:57 PM
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Wherever he goes, Tim Tebow draws a crowd.

The former NFL quarterback, who famously switched from football to baseball, is now playing for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets. It’s baseball’s second-highest minor league division, full of hopefuls who seek to break into the major leagues one day.

At every game, fans hope to catch a glimpse of the 30 year old, who is one of the most visible Christian athletes in America.

They haven’t been disappointed. Tebow’s game has improved this season, which is more impressive because he’s in a higher division than last year. Throughout 45 games, he’s batting a .234, with four home runs and 19 runs batted in. And in true Tebow fashion, he hit his first home run at his first at-bat this season.

Baseball insiders have noticed. “He’s legitimately improved, which isn’t nothing,” a National League executive told Newsday last week.

“It’s a huge year,” Tebow told reporters after a recent game. “Especially the second half [of the season], it’s very important. It’s something I’m all-in on, working as hard as I can to make as many improvements as I can.”

Tim Tebow
| Credit: Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

So where does Tebow go from here?

“Of course I want to achieve as much as I can in baseball, the same way I wanted it in football,” Tebow told PEOPLE at his 2018 Celebrity Golf tournament that raised money for the Tim Tebow Foundation. “I want to do my very best. I want to improve my game — I think I’ve improved — and I want to really be proud of what I do.

Over the years, PEOPLE has spent a lot of time with Tebow — on the golf course, in his home, even on a trip to Haiti. During every interview, Tebow has been very clear about his life’s purpose.

“It’s not sports,” he told PEOPLE. “My main purpose is not about football or baseball, or anything like that. It’s about helping others. It’s about finding the people who need hope. That’s my greater purpose.”

Lately, Tebow has focused his energy on people with disabilities. Last February, his foundation threw its fourth successful Night to Shine, a worldwide prom for people with special needs.

“If I’m not remembered for baseball, that’s okay,” he told PEOPLE. “If I’m not remembered for football, that’s okay, too. Actually, it’s fine if I’m not remembered at all. What I want is to serve God by helping people who are less fortunate. That’s what’s important, not playing a sport.”

Credit: Bryan Soderlind

Tebow is preparing for the September launch of his latest book, This Is the Day. The tagline reads, “Reclaim your dream. Ignite your passion. Live your purpose.”

The book is Tebow’s most personal one yet. He discusses the ups and downs of his baseball career, his reaction to the news of his father’s Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis and other personal anecdotes about his life in the public eye. (It’s available for preorder now.)

Tebow, an outspoken Christian, says that his faith drives him to help others.

Credit: Bryan Soderlind

“That’s my calling,” he says. “I believe I’m doing what God wants me to do — to serve those who may not have a lot of people who are serving them.”

“Of course I want to succeed in baseball,” Tebow tells PEOPLE, “but it doesn’t mean anything if I’m not ultimately doing something greater than myself. Our lives should be about bringing faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”