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GAINESVILLE - Tim Tebow fought tears early Saturday evening. As the University of Florida quarterback tried to explain his feelings after a 42-30 loss to Georgia, he sometimes couldn't find the words. During those moments, he pounded the lectern in front of him, probably because he needed to pound on something to keep from exploding.
A few hours later, Tim Tebow had a phone to his ear. On the other line, more than 8,000 miles away, was a little perspective.
Tim Tebow's older sister, Christy Allen, moved with her husband, Joey, and their 16-month-old daughter, Claire, to Bangladesh last week for a three-year missionary stint. The Allens had listened to the Florida-Georgia game on the Internet in the wee hours of Sunday morning in Bangladesh. As Tim Tebow spoke to his sister, he thought of what she will see every day for the next three years.
"It's not even really what she said," Tim Tebow said. "It's seeing what she's doing and where she is and how she's living their life."
Bangladesh is a country about the size of Iowa located between India and Myanmar on the Bay of Bengal. According to the World Bank, half of Bangladesh's 144.3 million people live below the poverty line. The per capita income is $490 a year, and the infant mortality rate is 54 percent.
According to a Tim Tebow family newsletter posted in January on the Web site of the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, the Allens are working in Bangladesh for the International Mission Board, a missionary arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
No matter how you feel about proselytizing, you have to admire the conviction of a couple who would travel halfway around the world and give up most of the comforts they've come to enjoy in order to share their faith.
That thought hit Tim Tebow as he chatted with his sister Saturday. All of a sudden, the pain of the loss didn't seem so crushing. With all the pressure on Tim Tebow to will the Gators to win each week, the message came at the perfect time.
"It makes you realize that you do everything for this game," Tim Tebow said, "but it really doesn't mean that much in the grand scheme of things."
CELEBRATION A RISK: Florida fans are enraged at Georgia's full-team celebration after the Bulldogs' first touchdown Saturday, but probably for the wrong reason.
The problem wasn't the classlessness of the display. It certainly was classless, but it was also classless when Florida players stomped on the Tiger's Eye logo at the 50-yard line before the Oct. 6 game at LSU. The problem was that the celebration - condoned by Georgia coach Mark Richt - could have touched off a brawl of Florida International-Miami proportions.
Richt is lucky the Gators kept their cool when the Bulldogs stormed the field. Chances are, most of the Florida players on the field had no idea what was happening. Had one of them thought a teammate was being attacked, he might have started swinging.
The resulting melee would have aired on ESPN a million times by now. Both programs would have received black eyes that would hurt their national reputations.
And if someone had gotten hurt, it would have been all Richt's fault.
HONOR ROLL: Senior MF KeLeigh Hudson scored a hat trick to lead the Florida soccer team to a 5-0 win against SEC West Division leader LSU on Sunday.
SOUNDBITE CENTRAL: "You can look at it one way and say it worked. You can look at it another way and say it wasn't classy." - Florida QB Tim Tebow on Georgia's full-team celebration of its first touchdown Saturday.
LOOK OUT FOR: Florida's Nov. 10 football game at South Carolina has been picked up by ESPN. It will kick off at 7:45 p.m.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Who will win the SEC East Division in football?
BLOG BONUS: Go to TBO.com, keyword: Gators Report, to read about former Hillsborough High star Jarred Fayson and his emergence in Florida's offense.
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