A Different Kind of Player

April 23, 2012 | NeW

By guest blogger Ashley Chandler

Considering that New York City boasts eight professional sports teams and accommodates several celebrities, I assumed New Yorkers would possess a more blasé attitude regarding Tim Tebow. Clearly, that is not the case. The recently acquired NY Jet attended a Yankee’s game on Sunday and the crowd welcomed him with sneers and jeers. One would expect such scorn had he donned a Red Sox ball cap, but he did not. Such behavior would make sense had he rejected the NY Jets’s offer, but he did not. I can’t imagine the crowd treating Jeremy Lin the same way, which begs the question: why the hate?

His icy reception at Yankee’s Stadium has nothing to do with his passes on the field. Rather, it has everything to do with Tebow’s lack of passes off the field and what he now symbolizes: a lifestyle antithetical to one celebrated in his new hometown. In a city where hook-ups and cohabitation are the norm, this player believes in marriage. Beyond the bleachers, a great number of women want to date him — a fact even the hecklers can’t deny. I venture their reasons don’t have as much to do with his money, status, or appearance, but everything to do with his values. Even though 60% of couples cohabitate before they get married, I’m not convinced that’s what women really want. Most cohabitating women quickly say they plan to marry, clearly indicating that marriage is the desired goal. Their fear of losing the relationship seems to be their motivating factor, which makes it difficult for them to convince me of their happiness. A recent New York Times article explains this saying, “Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage, while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment.” In other words, women are now on the offensive team, using every strategy necessary to get their quarterback closer to the end zone.

Is this the “freedom” the feminists of the 60’s envisioned? In 1963 Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique, documenting the dissatisfaction of married, educated, stay at home mothers. According to her, this “degrading” lifestyle left women unhappy. Couldn’t I say the same thing about the current lifestyle?

While I would never say that marriage is easy, it’s better than what we have now — a world in which men aren’t expected to take responsibility, lead, or even pay on a first date. A world in which men are no longer penalized for being philanderers. Daughters without fathers. Mothers without husbands. A culture crumbling around us. And when one man dares to stand against it, all he hears is jeers. If women were the only ones in the stands that day, would he have received a different welcome? We’ll never know for sure, but my guess is he would have received a standing ovation. (Led by yours truly.) What makes him so desirable to women really isn’t a mystery. We desire him because he respects us. He’s the different kind of player we’ve been waiting for.

Ashley Chandler is the Director of Development for the National Association of Scholars. This is her first time writing for NeW

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