People always ask me why I root so hard for Tim Tebow to make it in the NFL.
Is it because he loves the game so much; plays with such passion; is so fun to watch; or that he's just so much different than the typical cookie-cutter pro quarterback?
It's all of those things, but mainly it's because every time I've ever seen him at a public appearance, he scans the crowd in search of kids with special needs and then immediately makes a mad dash toward those kids as if they are a touchdown pylon.
Former Gator Tim Tebow played for the Philadelphia Eagles during their preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday.
So many times these kids with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis and afflictions we can't even pronounce — let alone imagine — look up from their wheelchairs and see people avoid them and recoil at the very sight of them. Tebow is drawn to them and makes a beeline toward them, looks them in the eye, hugs them, talks to them, touches them.
"It's just a lot easier to turn the other way and ignore those with special needs," Mike Barr says. "Tim is the complete opposite. He doesn't see these kids as a burden; he sees them as a blessing."
Barr has three special-needs children he adopted with the help of Tebow and the Tim Tebow Foundation. Essentially, Tebow and his charity financially subsidize families who adopt the kids nobody else wants. Tebow uses the term Jesus used in the Bible — "The least of these" — when I asked him once about why he cares so much about special-needs children.
I'm no Biblical scholar, but "the least of these" can be defined as those who need our love and help the most. Perhaps this is why the official mission of Tebow's foundation is "To bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need."
Carrie Underwood said she had big news that she wanted her fans to hear directly from her. So on Thursday afternoon (Aug. 20), she took to Facebook to share her very big news. Like so many of her fans had suspected, Underwood will be releasing a new album on Oct. 23. Titled Storyteller, it's her fifth studio album. "You guys have been the best to me for the past 10 years," she said. In the decade since winning American Idol, Underwood has sold more than 56 million records worldwide, won seven Grammy awards, had 21 No. 1 singles, and her first four albums — Some Hearts, Carnival Ride, Play On and Blown Away — were each certified platinum or multiplatinum.
Source: Alison Bonaguro/cmt.com
Halfway through "I Go Back," Kenny reached into the crowd to high five a woman with Down syndrome, who asked to join the Lucky Old Son onstage. Kenny pulled her from the audience, and without missing a beat, she told the crowd, "I just want to let you know… Kenny Chesney is my true love … He inspires me, and right now, I want to kiss him on the lips. Do you want to see it?"
Kenny's reaction was priceless. He said, "Let me wipe the sweat off -- It takes a lot to embarrass me, I will admit ..." And then he gave her a big ol' kiss on the mouth. Kenny hugged his new friend onstage through the next song, which was appropriately "Wild Child."
A little boy in Baxley faces what could be a life-changing surgery. It could help him do at least one thing many of us take for granted.
Ethan Black, 3, started life with some medical challenges. Now, an upcoming surgery could help him lead a life more similar to his classmates here at Appling County Primary.
By all accounts, Ethan should have never made this far. He suffered a bilateral grade-4 brain bleed at birth. He came off oxygen and machines at age one.
But cerebral palsy and other issues give him spasms, and he alternates between casts and braces on his legs. A surgery in October in New Jersey could help.
"He's never going to have to be casted again. He's never going to have to be stretched again. He's never going to have to go through the 16 injections of Botox every three months again," said Sabrina Black, Ethan's mother.
The surgery - not covered by insurance - will allow his leg muscles and tendons to grow as he grows. It could also help make him strong enough to walk.
"This is something that could change his life. Not something that will have to be redone in a year or two. It could change our baby's life," Sabrina said.
The surgeon is one of only two people in the world who can perform it. The cost - $22,000. Ethan's brother and sister have raised over $1,000 with a lemonade stand.
They've set up a GoFundMe page to help raise the money and there's a fundraiser next weekend in Hinesville.
Florida Georgia Line says big changes are coming for the group. Brian Kelley says the guys are working on their new album and fans should expect a definite shift in their sound. "We're excited. We've been writing a ton. And I really do speak for the both of us, I think our music is on the level than we've ever done. Content, lyrically, musically. I think the next single, I'm not going to tell you the title, but I think it's going to change country music again. I think it's going to change lives."
Cole Swindell has writing credits on numerous songs recorded by other popular artists. Some songs simply sit better with someone else singing them, but there is one song in particular that Swindell wishes he would have saved for himself.
Swindell has penned tracks for a variety of artists, including Chris Young, Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line, Craig Campbell and Luke Bryan. Bryan's 2013 album, Crash My Party, features three songs written by Swindell, including "Beer in the Headlights," a song that Swindell regrets giving away.
"That was my baby," Swindell says, "and I felt like, when he recorded that song … I said, 'All right, if I write another song I'm that crazy about, and I think I could use it to break into the scene, then I've gotta keep it."
Swindell also co-wrote Crash My Party's 11th track, "Out Like That," and its fifth single, the No. 1 hit "Roller Coaster." The rising country star says he especially loved "Roller Coaster," "but it means more that Luke took that song." And even though part of him wishes that he had recorded "Beer in the Headlights" himself, Swindell sees a major silver lining in the story.
"Literally, about a month or two later, I wrote "Chillin' It." Had Luke not recorded ["Beer in the Headlights"], I may have tried to put out "Beer in the Headlights," and it may not have worked," Swindell explains. "It's just crazy how things work out. I learned from that, and I knew when I wrote "Chillin' It" that that's what I wanted people to hear first."
"Beer in the Headlights" wasn't released as a single, so Swindell says that there's still a chance he may record the track himself in the future. For now, fans are anxiously awaiting Swindell's sophomore album, which will include "You Should Be Here," a song about Swindell's late father.
"It's, by far, my favorite song that I think I've written," he says. "I think that's why I moved to Nashville, is to write a song like this. Just growing up, loving '90s country music, there were songs that touched me. There were fun ones, but there were also the ones I could relate to, and I think this is going to be that song when people get to hear it."
Source: Hannahlee Allers/theboot.com