Tim Tebow, UNCC shooting survivor cherish each other’s company: ‘It meant the world to me’

first_imgCHARLOTTE, N.C. — Fans brought their University of Florida helmets and jerseys for him to sign. Reporters brought questions he’d already answered in countless cities. Less-famous opponents stared at the scene from across the field.This is the reality of Tim Tebow’s minor league baseball experience, his spotlight shining in ballparks unaccustomed to such illumination. On Wednesday, the former NFL quarterback played here against the Charlotte Knights at BB&T Ballpark. Next week, he’ll be in Buffalo. Then it’s on to Rochester. “We have the better view on this side. We can see the (uptown Charlotte) skyline, too,” Davis said of the third-base dugout, where he would spend the next few hours. “I’ll be watching the whole show from here.”Pescaro sat just behind that spot, enjoying almost the exact same view. Amid a stretch of his life he called “a pretty rough time” personally, he felt fortunate to get an up-close perspective of one of his favorite players.”It meant the world to me,” Pescaro said. “Everyone else I’d met (since the shooting), it was also extremely cool. But this was someone I’ve literally been following since I was first getting into sports. … You could just tell how much he cares.” The frenzy is normal for Tebow’s Triple-A Syracuse Mets teammates, who mostly shrug when asked about the onetime football star competing alongside them.”It’s like this everywhere with him,” outfielder Rajai Davis said. “That’s what happens when you have 4.7 million followers on Twitter.”Sometimes, though, Tebow is able to break up the sameness with a more intimate interaction.Before Wednesday’s game, Tebow met with Drew Pescaro, who survived the April 30 mass shooting in a University of North Carolina Charlotte classroom. Pescaro underwent two surgeries to recover from his injuries.Tebow and Pescaro initially connected through Pescaro’s church, Elevation, to speak on FaceTime a couple of weeks ago. Pescaro’s father helped orchestrate the in-person conversation, which took place beside the field and lasted about 10 minutes.”I’ve followed him since he was at Florida. … He’s been my sports idol since fourth grade,” Pescaro, 19, said. “I thought (the video call) was amazing, and then this was 10 times cooler.”MORE:  MLB scout says Tim Tebow has peaked in Triple-ABefore a Syracuse Mets game in Charlotte, @TimTebow meets with Drew Pescaro, one of the young men shot at UNCC in April.— A l y s s a 🌻 (@alyssasconzo5) June 19, 2019As a lifelong Patriots fan, Pescaro donned Tebow’s No. 5 New England jersey — an unusual clothing item given the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner’s brief stint with that team. Tebow smiled when he saw Pescaro’s uniform choice and seemed moved by his time with the student. Tebow cherishes these kinds of personal moments as he traverses the day-to-day grind of the minor leagues.”(Pescaro) is someone who, in the midst of adversity, showed so much strength and faith and determination,” Tebow said. “I always try to let (people in need) know I’ll be praying for them. Hopefully that can be encouraging.”Davis, who met with Pescaro moments after Tebow went to stretch in left field, praised Tebow’s generosity and ability to lift the young man’s spirits. Davis is well-positioned to appreciate Tebow having played 14 MLB seasons. The veteran’s litany of big league memories leaves him not only satisfied with his own career, but also cognizant of what others bring to the game.Davis, then, didn’t seem to mind not starting Wednesday. It allowed him to take in the Tebow spectacle on a night Tebow’s presence meant a little more than usual.last_img

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