Tim Tebow’s Greatest Off-Field Move: Crowning the Prom Queen
Tim Tebow. The name should be familiar to almost anyone who has tuned into sports at some point in the last decade. Even the cursory fan will recognize the name. Tebow was the best quarterback in college football from 2007-09. He entered the NFL as a first-round pick, and despite not having the greatest professional career, drew the media’s attention Sunday after Sunday.
Then, suddenly, Tebow retired from football and began his well-documented journey towards becoming a professional baseball player. But what many people don’t know is how good of a person Tebow is off the field. Fans catch glimpses of his faith on the field with sky-high points and religion filled interviews, but off the field, Tebow is an All-Star, and on one special night, the world saw just how impressive of a person he really is.
Love him or hate him, Tim Tebow has become one of the more polarizing athletes in recent memory. What is not in dispute is his commitment to his faith and to helping others. But for young Judy Adams, that goal almost went unfulfilled.
His exploits on the field are already the stuff of legend. The 2007 Heisman Award-winning quarterback at the University of Florida, Tebow became an international sensation in 2011 as starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos. But it’s Tebow’s off-field body of work and character that have allowed him to truly rise to stardom and become something far greater than a man in shoulder pads.
Tim the Gator
While at the University of Florida, the dual-threat quarterback captivated the nation during his 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning season, where he proudly displayed his Christian faith for the world to see. He ran and passed his way through the notoriously challenging Southeastern Conference, bulldozing defenders and threading the needle despite an awkward throwing motion.
His popularity and legend grew even more the following season when Tebow led his Gators to a National Championship victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. This would be Tebow’s second at Florida, the first coming primarily as a backup during his freshman year.
Tim the Bronco
Although his faith attracted many detractors, Tebow blocked out the noise and stayed true to himself. Following four prolific years at Florida, Tebow declared for the NFL Draft and impressed enough coaches and scouts to get taken in the first-round by the Denver Broncos. He was billed by many as the quarterback of the future, a player who could re-define what an NFL quarterback was capable of.
Eventually, much to the chagrin of Broncos fans, Tebow was traded from Denver. The experiment was cancelled. Chalk it up as a failure with some great moments scattered in between moments of failure and frustration. His inconsistencies could no longer be ignored; he proved himself incapable of being a franchise quarterback in the NFL and spent a few years bouncing around the league, unable to find a team or coach willing to let him throw the ball. It seemed that his playing days in the NFL were numbered.
Winning off the Field
But what’s more amazing than Tebow’s journey from college star, to first-round pick in the NFL, to minor league All-Star has been his ability to stay focused and do good for the communities he represents. His pride and joy aren’t derived from his fame or individual accolades he accumulated through a prolific college career and decently successful NFL career.
The Tim Tebow Foundation
Stardom and attention have seemingly followed Tebow each step of the way on his incredible journey from standout high school quarterback to the pros, but Tebow has remained humble and grounded through it all. Fittingly, his greatest achievement in life isn’t the Heisman Trophy or two National Championships he won; it’s the organization he founded, the Tim Tebow Foundation.
The Foundation is the vessel that has allowed Tebow to publicly put his faith into action, an organization that has helped thousands of people around the globe, specifically children. It’s hard to find a clip of Tebow gushing about stats or accolades, but watching Tebow talk about the work his foundation has done for those in need brings out the most genuine, raw emotion. His passion for helping is palpable and more inspiring then any comeback he led or important pass he threw.
His foundation is an umbrella organization comprised of smaller, more specialized charities that raise money for a number of causes Tebow is most passionate about. For example, Tebow built a hospital in the Philippines through the Tim Tebow Cure Hospital foundlation and builds specialty child playrooms in hospitals throughout the world under the Timmy’s Playroom foundation.
However, out of all the foundations that exist within the Tebow Foundation, One Night to Shine is the one he treasures the most.
One Night To Shine
For Tebow, his One Night to Shine program is dedicated to giving special needs children around the globe an unforgettable prom-style night. It’s his organization’s signature and biggest event, and it’s the one that draws the most attention out of the many noble causes Tebow fights for.
One night every year, with the help of 175,000 volunteers, One Night to Shine hosts 90,000 children in 16 countries, giving them an amazing red-carpet experience full of dancing, celebration, and flashy suits and dresses. It’s truly an amazing event that changes lives forever and celebrates those who are often on the outside looking in.
One of Tebow’s biggest fans, Judy Adams is no stranger to the spotlight or fighting for what she’s passionate about- two things Tebow can surely admire and relate to. Born with Down Syndrome, Adams made it her life’s mission to help those affected by the disability. In fact, Adams started a charity of her own called Dimes for Downs.
What initially began as a way to help Adams’ mom’s charity has turned into a full-fledged operation. One day, Adams saw her mom, Kim, visibly upset because Kim wasn’t having an easy time raising money for her own charity, Gifts From the Heart for Downs. So July decided she’d help raise some money for her mother’s organization, and what started out as collecting dimes locally turned into a national effort that spawned a separate charity.
On the sixth year anniversary of the charity, Adams officially hit the goal she initially set out for- half a million dimes. To be precise, 501,409 dimes were raised. This astounding figure started out as a grass-roots charity and has grown into Adams’ life’s work.
Judy Adams Attends Prom
Prior to Adams’ One Night to Shine prom event, the super-fan reached out to Tebow and invited him to be her date. Due to prior speaking engagements and travel plans, Tebow wasn’t able to accommodate her request, but the request lingered in the back of his mind.
The Surprise of a Lifetime
Following Judy’s prom, Tebow reached out to her mom and offered two tickets to the Jimmy Fallon Show. There were two catches, however. First, Judy’s mom needed to tell Judy a white-lie and say they won the tickets in a raffle.Second, the mom had to prevent Judy from realizing that Tebow was the show’s main guest.
Tebow Never Went to Prom
Later that year, following the surprise invite, Tebow was sitting center stage chatting with Jimmy Fallon while Judy and her mom beamed on from the audience. On the show, Tebow and Fallon spoke about the Tebow Foundation and, more specifically, One Night to Shine. While discussing its value to all of those involved and why it’s such an integral, special element for the foundation, the now-baseball player revealed that, because of sports, he never made it to his high school prom.
At that point, Fallon jokingly offered Tebow a corsage, which Tebow graciously accepted. With the corsage in hand, Tebow began speaking about an influential girl who happened to be sitting in the audience, a girl who attended a One Night to Shine prom. As Tebow continues speaking, the camera pans over to a girl sitting next to her mom, and that’s when Tebow asks if Judy Adams would like have a dance.
A Dance for the Ages
A tear-filled and shocked Adams stood up to a thunderous applause and approached Tebow, ready for her moment in the spotlight.
The two had a huge embrace before slow dancing in front of millions of viewers during their nationally-televised heartfelt moment.
After the Show
After the show ended, Tebow continued to give Adams a once-in-a-lifetime experience. He brought her backstage to hang out with Kerry Washington, a prominent actress and one of the show’s other guests.
Although Tebow’s NFL career may have ended, his impact on countless lives continues to grow.
Still guided by his unbreakable faith, Tebow decided that his football career was over. He hadn’t thrown an NFL pass in years and was drawing minimal interest from teams around the league. In this situation, many players would take up coaching, motivational speaking, or just simply retire and hit the golf course.
Not Tebow, a man that has enough money in the bank to retire twice. He put down his shoulder pads and picked up a bat and glove and began training for a shot at playing professional baseball, a sport he hadn’t played since his junior year in high school.
The Next Chapter
Win or lose on the field, the legend of Tim Tebow has only grown, and rightfully so. Not many athletes have done as much off the field and received so much flak in the process. Fortunately, Tebow understands how to tune it out and keep being himself, a man dedicated to helping others day in and day out.