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Football players assist in adaptive football game

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Photo courtesy Erich Hoefferle

The kids got a chance to experience what the players do in a real game. This photo shows the team lining up like a tunnel and when the kid's names were announced they ran through just like in a real game. Junior Austin Murr said, "Their faces were becoming filled with joy as they ran through, giving all of us high-fives."

On Sept. 19 a football game was held in the Miller stadium but it was different than the average one. In this game kids with special needs got to work with the football team and play their own game.

This has been a tradition since 2006 to get the adaptive athletes from ages 9-19 to experience the love for football because there isn’t an adaptive football team. The varsity team spends two hours with the kids teaching them the basics of football and then participates in a game of football with the kids.

This opportunity means a lot to both the team and the adaptive athletes. This experience was a happy one for everyone that was involved in it.

Junior football player Austin Murr said, “It was a lot of fun… Every time they caught the ball, they had the biggest smiles on their faces. All of the coaches congratulated them, the other athletes gave each other hugs and high fives.”

The team does a lot of community service other than this event. They do 1,500 hours of community service as a team each year. They are involved in activities like the Special Olympics, Feed my Starving Children, visiting nursing homes or the adaptive football game.

Football coach Beau Labore said, “We try to promote and encourage our players to think that giving is receiving so what they get from giving to others is the reward from doing the service. So we think that by having adaptive football day they learn the valuable lesson of giving to people who maybe aren’t as fortunate as them athletically but also spreading the love and enjoyment of football.”

“We try to promote and encourage our players to think that giving is receiving so what they get from giving to others is the reward from doing the service. So we think that by having adaptive football day they learn the valuable lesson of giving to people who maybe aren’t as fortunate as them athletically but also spreading the love and enjoyment of football.””

— Beau Labore

The adaptive kids had the time of their life getting a chance to work and play with the team. To be able to spend time with the players and get involved in a game they wouldn’t play otherwise, was an amazing experience for them. This opinion was expressed by many of the people involved in this event.

Coach Labore described the kids reactions when he said, “It’s very rare that you don’t see them smiling, just a lot of smiles, a lot of laughs, a lot of happiness and a lot of fun.”

The team also got to bond with not only the athletes, but each other. They worked and played the game with the kids for two hours. Their team became closer with these kids, and if it wasn’t for this they probably never would have met any of them.

Austin Murr said, “This helped us make connections with all the players. I met a kid that goes to all of the high school hockey games…There was a kid that would not stop talking about our win against Woodbury the night before.”

Overall the game was a very positive experience for everyone. The team grew relationships with the players and made their day.

Special Ed Para Micheal McMillan summed up the day when he said,”They had fun, the players were really good with them and the kids were really proud of themselves. They were just really happy, it was a good day.”

 

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Football players assist in adaptive football game