Night To Shine was different this year. The annual prom-like bash run by the Tim Tebow Foundation for special needs guests had to go virtual due to COVID-19. But, the party went on as best as possible thanks to Tebow and several of his friends, many of them from the world of sports.
Usually, Night To Shine is a huge, in-person party. Churches, schools, and dining halls are packed to the gills on a night close to Valentine’s Day. The special needs guests enter on a red carpet, enjoy lots of food, and dance the night away. Unlike those first six years, the 2021 edition of the event was mostly held online. Many churches ran a Shine-Thru before the event. That gave the kings and queens (Tebow’s honored guests) the chance to pick up their crowns and gift baskets while staying in their vehicles. Then Friday, the Night To Shine virtual experience was presented.
Tebow, the legendary Florida Gators quarterback and current New York Mets farmhand, along with his wife, and their ridiculously cute trio of dogs hosted the digital party from their home. The Tebows would then kick it around the world for greetings from different celebrities. Country singer Carrie Underwood and Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Robertson Huff were among the well-wishers delivering messages of love and encouragement to the Night To Shiners. Along with Tebow, several other sports stars sent positive words along to the kings and queens. Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, pro surfer Bethany Hamilton, baseball great Alex Rodriguez, boxing champion turned Philippines Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson along with her husband, former NFL long snapper Alex East all showed up for the big night.
The messages were heartfelt and centered on God’s love. “I hope you enjoy being kings and queens not just for tonight, for all your lives,” said Barkley.
“You are all beautifully and wonderfully made,” Hamilton said. “God loves you endlessly and has so much purpose and value for you and your life.”
“You bring joy to our hearts,” Pacquiao said.
That sentiment was echoed by A-Rod. “God loves each and every one of you,” Rodriguez said.
“You are so special, you are so loved, you are so awesome,” said Johnson. “We can’t wait to meet you all some day.”
“We are so thankful for you,” added East.
Along with the special messages from celebs, the Tebows danced and hosted sing-alongs. They also showed clips of Night To Shine events from years past.
All 50 states participated as did 32 countries worldwide. Along with the online main event, many host churches implemented safe in-person components such as delivering gift bags to those who cannot leave their homes, decorating their yards, and offering the opportunity to attend a Shine-Thru.
This marks the seventh year of Night To Shine and certainly the most challenging one. But just like Tebow on the ball field, his foundation didn’t shy away from obstacles. Instead, they plowed right on through, for the good of all the kings and queens.
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