There was a time when we sports fiends shot for the stars, or at the very least idolized them. Those days are gone and replaced by an era of the unlikely hero.
Let's just say that we recognize the big names in the sport, but they hardly get the juices flowing anymore.
America has fallen in love with the little man, and the crush is an epidemic that is leaking to multiple sports. Forget the homecoming king or queen, we want to hear about the nerd that stayed home.
Just when you thought Tim Tebow couldn't get anymore ubiquitous, he went and beat Jeremy Lin. Well, he didn't create him, but he patented the mold that we are now fitting Lin into.
Jeremy Lin, for those that enjoy dead horses being beat, is the starting point guard for the New York Knicks. He didn't start the season as such. No, he was an afterthought that only needed multiple injuries and one Iman Shumpert to trail off to grab the reigns.
Both athletes are happy to thank God in public and eager to give him thanks. Tebow, however, was a well-known entity coming into the NFL. Lin was never on the sports radar before back-to-back 20-plus games.
The reason we love these types of athletes isn't because of religion. Tim Harris, writing for The Guardian, reports secular identity in this nation is becoming far more popular.
The reason for Linsanity or Tebowmania is wider-reaching. The fact of it all is that we want to believe in the unlikely hero. We want to believe that we could go out there and shoot a sweet jumper and cash in on the passion we have for the game, even if the talent is absent.
You only have to look at one of the more popular commercials from this past Super Bowl Sunday to find what resonates with this nation.
Clint Eastwood gives a monologue to end all commercial monologues to sell some Chrysler automobiles. At least that's the cynics' take.
What really ended up happening is the nation became entranced with the idea that we were about to spring free from the last few years of recession. It was hope that pulled on our heartstrings.
Tom Brady is a good-looking dude that can throw with pinpoint accuracy and bagged one hot babe for a wife. That's a fairy tale that we have seen play out, and we are bored from it.
The unlikely hero is what attracts us and gets us talking. Our favorite sentence has been "How did he do that?"
And we don't want it answered. Stimulate, confuse and befuddle us.
Guys like Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow shouldn't succeed, but do. Those used to be the athletes we would toss aside so we could savor the meatheads with real talent.
Somewhere along the way, we wised up and saw some perfectly interesting tales of the absurd and bizarre.
Humble men were defying odds, and we were finally ready to notice.