It's one of my favorite times of year - not only does football draw tantalizingly near, but so do the cool stories about the faith of players from the professional and collegiate ranks.

I'm far from a Florida Gator fan, but I can't get enough of the stories about their Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow. Last year ESPN was doing features about his missionary work in the Philippines. This year, Sports Illustrated is featuring him, in a story picked up by Baptist Press:

Before the hope of Gator Nation was born...

Pam [Tebow] contracted amebic dysentery, which briefly put her in a coma, Murphy reports. Her doctors were afraid that medications they had given her had damaged the fetus, and advised her to abort the pregnancy. 

But the Tebows refused, and Pam gave birth on Aug. 14, 1987, to a healthy Timothy Richard Tebow...

"I asked God for a preacher, and he gave me a quarterback," said Bob Tebow.

Abortion and the pro-life stance are not my pet issues, either politically or religiously. But two reasons I hold to that worldview strongly are: nobody and no situation being beyond the reach of God's arm, as well as the great and wonderful mystery of not knowing who any child is going to grow up to be.

And there are a lot of people living due south of me right now who are glad Pam and Bob Tebow looked at life that way as well.

Other inspiring stories I'm following as football season gets closer:

  • Former NFL coach Tony Dungy is going to be appearing at a movie theatre near you with a project called Red Zone, tabbed as an: "entirely new approach [that] will impact an entire generation of student athletes BEFORE they develop bad habits that will limit their sports career, or more importantly, limit their potential in life."
  • GetReligion.org is also, apparently, keen on following stories of intelligent faith among athletes, and as such is tracking this story about Steelers' safety Troy Polamalu.