LOS ANGELES (AP) –The commotion of his whirlwind season has subsided, leaving Tim Tebow extra time to pursue one of his favorite things: trying to make a difference in others’ lives.
His target Monday was 100 kids at the Challengers Boys & Girls Club in south Los Angeles, some of whom knew who the Denver Broncos quarterback was and others who, somewhat surprisingly, didn’t.
During a question-and-answer session with the kids, one query in particular got the loudest reaction of all. Tebow was asked if he “has a thing” with pop singer Katy Perry.
“No, me and Katy Perry don’t have a thing, but she’s a very good artist,” he said, smiling.
Tebow’s female fans might be glad to hear there’s no special woman he’ll be sharing Valentine’s Day with on Tuesday.
“I’m single … ” he said, “but I’m doing just fine though. I’ll just be around my brothers and friends. We’ll just have a good time.”
Tebow squeezed in a quick haircut in the club’s mirrored aerobics room before his appearance. Later in the day, he had a workout scheduled with his quarterbacks coach, something he’ll be doing for the next few weeks in Los Angeles.
His offseason plans include a trip to the Philippines, where Tebow was born. He wants to visit the construction of a hospital his foundation is funding and visit an orphanage he supports.
“And also find a little bit of time to relax,” he said.
Tebow was promoting books and reading, with nary a video game in sight.
“So many times in today’s society, we can get caught up in Xboxes, video games, watching TV,” he said before meeting the kids, “and forget about reading, about educating yourself and learning how to communicate with people. I just think that’s so important.”
He told the kids how he was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was younger.
“I would get words rearranged in my head and wouldn’t say them right,” he said.
Tebow has been cited as an influence by New York Knicks rookie point guard Jeremy Lin, who like the QB, is public about his Christian faith. Lin’s explosive performances in leading his team to five straight wins have prompted descriptions like “Linsanity.”
“It’s awesome to see what he’s done,” Tebow said. “It’s going to be fun to see where it goes from here.”
Maia Pittman, an 11-year-old girl, was among those who didn’t recognize the guy who made “Tebowing” a cultural phenomenon this season. She said she doesn’t know anything about football.
“I was excited to see him because I really never saw anybody famous like that,” she said.
Kaleb Scott was beaming at the chance to meet the QB of his favorite team.
“I like how he pulls his team in tough situations, like when it’s grind time, he gets the job done,” Scott said.
And for those Tebow critics who say he isn’t a very good QB, Scott replied, “For him to take the underdogs and take them to the playoffs and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, I think it speaks for itself.”
Tebow tossed a few left-handed spirals to some of the boys, and autographed the left shoulder of the kids’ blue Book!It T-shirts as they shuffled through a line.
“My brother is going to be so jealous,” Pittman said.
Others handed him footballs and one girl had him sign a dog-eared copy of “Breaking Dawn,” part of the “Twilight” series.
A couple of the boys showed off their version of “Tebowing.”
Tebow urged the kids to establish priorities, telling them his are “faith, family, football.”
Away from the youngsters, he said he has to make choices about his appearances all the time.
“Maybe I could go do this and be blessed to make some money or maybe I could go do this where I’d be blessed to impact some kids,” he said.
On Wednesday, Tebow will host America’s Biggest Storytime in which he’ll read his favorite childhood book, Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” to kids worldwide via the Internet. In exchange for Tebow’s participation, the Pizza Hut/BOOK IT! Reading Incentive Program is making a donation to his foundation.
“It’s pretty much the book I learned to read on,” said Tebow, who was homeschooled by his mother. “The rhyming, it’s just fun. At 5, 6 years old, it was fun and I enjoyed it. Looking back, it’s just a lot of good memories for me as well.”