In his post ‘It Could Be Worse’, concerning Tim Tebow and the fact that he prays quite often during NFL games and practices, the blogger of Redneck Latte Ravings (an opinion blog) with the screen name Paul appeals to his audience and shows a less scholarly, yet knowledgeable opinion. Tim Tebow, current Denver Broncos Quarterback is a devout Christian and is not afraid to show his beliefs to fans and players. This past year, Tim has been majorly publicized for (1) bringing the Denver Broncos to the second round of the playoffs, and (2) praying constantly during games. Paul uses casual and more personal word choice, convincing tone, and relevant examples to persuade the reader that “It could be worse,” and that praying should not be reprimanded.
Through his use of personalized, less formal word choice, Paul causes the reader to feel comfortable and more understanding of his point. Many writers try to “fluff up” their writing with the use of bigger, more complex words, but, in most cases, this just confuses the reader and pushes them to look elsewhere for reading material. Considering that Paul’s opinion blog is not a scholarly, and/or academic blog, readers of his blog are most likely not looking for scholarly writing, but for relatable, casual writing. By using colloquial words that one uses in every day conversation, such as “fuss,” “big deal,” “heck,” and “prayin’,” readers can connect more to the writer and the subject of his post. He even personalizes Tim Tebow’s name by calling him “Timmy” several times. When the author personalizes Tim Tebow by calling him “Timmy,” as an audience, we feel more connected to Timmy, and see him more on our level, rather than as the NFL superstar he is. This also helps in convincing the reader of Paul’s main point that praying is not bad at all and that in fact we could use a lot more of it, especially when our example of one who prays often is a decent guy like Timmy.
The use of convincing tone is not uncommon in an opinion post, but the way the author combines his casual diction with convincing tone brilliantly and subtly persuades the reader to believe in his point without even realizing they’ve been persuaded. He starts his post off by stating, “So a guy wants to pray on the sidelines, big deal.” This beginning phrase opens the thought to the reader that what they may have thought to be a “big deal” at first, really isn’t at all. He then moves on to convince the reader that Tim praying doesn’t hurt anyone else and says, “I think we could all do a little prayin’ these days!” According to Paul, Tim Tebow is a much better man than many other sports players; whether that is a result of his praying or not, Paul shows the reader that we should appreciate watching the devout Christian ball player with high morals and standards because it could easily be worse.
By utilizing personal examples, as well as historical examples of people who’ve prayed during sports, Paul shows that people are getting upset about something that they’ve been okay with and allowed for many, many years. He uses the example of Muhammad Ali and the fact that he routinely prayed before fights: “Did anyone care if Ali prayed before a fight? He did, BTW.” The author creates another connection to his audience by using a personal example of the fact that he prays before every meal, yet chooses not to make a big deal of it. The United States’ most predominant religion is Christianity, with 76% of Americans associating to the faith. Most, if not all people have had religious experiences for themselves and can relate to the small, personal prayers Paul holds prior to meals. The author then lists a few examples of sports players that could benefit from a little more praying themselves by saying, “and which is worse, a decent Tim Tebow who prays before, during, and after a game, or these guys…” It could be worse, and Paul convinces the reader that society should appreciate a decent, praying guy like Timmy, when he could be a drug- trafficking murderer, like Darryl Henley.
The more personal, congenial relationship that the author creates with his audience establishes the perfect foundation to assure the reader of his point and opinion and to change the viewpoint the reader may already have concerning Tim Tebow and the fact that he prays often and publicly. “It could be worse,” and the author illustrates that with his use of historical examples and persuasive tone. While many see Tim Tebow praying on the sidelines as preaching, Timmy is simply not afraid to stand up for and show his beliefs to anyone watching, and because of that, he is a much better man than most football players, or even sports players. Paul convinces his audience that practicing of one’s beliefs should never be denounced, whether or not one agrees with those beliefs.