CELEBRATING WITH TIM TEBOW: “A NIGHT TO SHINE!”
And what a night it was! Tim Tebow brought his foundation’s stellar event, “A Night to Shine,” to Rome, an amazing prom night for those with special needs. Held at Regina Apostolorum, the Rome campus of the European University, the evening’s honored guests experience all the trappings of a Hollywood red carpet event.
The young men and women, accompanied by family members, were welcomed on the red carpet by friends and photographers and cheering fans as they walked to and through an archway made of balloons toward the room that will be their ballroom for the night. Makeup artists are available as wass a space dedicated for photographers to mark the evening.
Tim Tebow, doing what he most loves, was at the archway to greet his special guests He was joined by his brand new wife, Demi, as they made the Rome event part of their honeymoon!
When the last guests had arrived and graced the red carpet, Tim went down to the dance floor to greet the very happy, celebratory crowd. In brief remarks, he greeted everyone with words that seem to come from the foundation website: “A Night to Shine is a night for the churches to shine, the volunteers to shine, our honored guests to shine, and most importantly, God to shine!” He told his guests how much God loves them, how special they are for all of us but mostly for God.
Then the dancing began. The prom had begun in earnest. And at the end of the evening, each special guest received a crown as King or Queen of the night.
Rome’s 2020 Night to Shine was replicated around the world, hosted by 721 churches across all 50 states and in 34 countries.
I met Tim Tebow at the start of the evening. I told him I was with EWTN (he had been interviewed earlier in the day for English News Nightly) and then mentioned some NFL names and, as it turned out, we had some friends in common, Jack and Linda DelRio (Jack is the new defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins).
There was a brief “meet the press” period as the dancing continued, and I spoke to Tim for radio. I ended up transcribing the interview as the music in the background made it difficult to hear.
I began by noting that his faith is at the center of all he does and asked how that came to be:
TIM: God puts unique meetings in our life that really speak to us, to our hearts, That happened when I was 15 and I was in the Philippines and I saw a young boy whose feet were backwards, and for his village he was cursed and they threw him away. I fell in love with that boy and it broke my heart and I knew that day that what I was supposed to do with my life was to fight for people who cannot fight for themselves. Everything we have done, all of our initiatives, be it orphanages or hospitals, are to support people with special needs….to bring, faith, hope and love to these people, to be the light for these people in their darkest hours – that is my heart’s passion. I don’t think God makes us strong so that we can lift things. I think He makes us strong so that we can lift people.
JFL (inspired by his enthusiasm, I said): I often tell people it was my dad who gave me my PhD – passion, hard work and dreams.
TIM: I love that! MY father too!
JFL: It sounds like you have a really strong PHD
TIM: I had a great role model in my father. He is my biggest hero and the one I look up to. He always liked to help people who could never help him. I am so grateful for that and also grateful for all the times God worked in my life. You know, I had dreams for sports but they have never been as clear as my dreams for my foundation or for the many lives we can touch
JFL: Just making a difference in the life of one special needs person here tonight is probably equally to 10,000 other people. I’ve seen their faces tonight – are we hearing the music one floor up!
TIM – and they are dancing to it and I hope they dance the night away! One of my favorite parts of a Night to Shine is when we crown each and everyone of them as King or Queen of the evening. We want to tell them how special they are to us and also how special they are for God. They are special every day of their lives, not just tonight. God loves each one so very much just the way they are.
JFL: And they are all equally special- no one is more special than the other – except maybe you, Tim!
I thanked him for his time, said I hoped Rome had been good to him and added that perhaps we’d meet again at an NFL game!