March 4, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It was almost two months to the day that the University of Louisville football team hoisted the Sugar Bowl trophy at the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
On Saturday, the Cardinals were lifting spirits, as head coach Charlie Strong and the Cardinal football players hosted a throng of kids from Kosair Hospital and Downs Syndrome of Louisville on Saturday for a kid's camp in the Trager Indoor Practice Facility.
Strong talks to his team all the time about the advantages they have as college athletes. The players receive scholarships, room and board, and most importantly, the opportunity to earn a degree.
He also stresses that they are given a gift to have the talent to perform on a national stage, and they better take the opportunity to make the most of each time out on the field.
With all the advantages the Cardinals have as students and athletes, there are children who might not have the same talents and opportunities to succeed.
The kids had the time of their lives at the camp, getting the opportunity to interact with the Sugar Bowl champions, conducting sack races, running and participating in throwing drills.
"It was great to see the kids have so much fun out there today," junior defensive tackle Jamaine Brooks said. "They make it so much fun for us and we love being out here. We had a great time this morning."
Strong had his players and coaches working with the kids for about two hours and served them Papa John's pizza after the event. It was a good treat for the kids, but it sounds like the pleasure was all coach Strong's.
"We have no battle compared to what the kids have to battle," Strong said. "What you learn is that they have so much fight in them and they teach us so much about life."
In his four years at the helm, Strong has given so much back to the children of the community. He spends his time conducting various clinics for the children, and also can be seen making normal visits to Kosair's Children Hospital.
"Oh, it means so much. We tell our players all the time about giving back and we want make sure we are giving back to the community," he added. "They have a chance to come out here and pick up kids and play with them and see what they battle every day."
The Cardinals ended the day with their version of the Harlem Shake video that has swept the nation. What made the video special was the kids in the camp were featured in the video production, including a special little dancer who sported Calvin Pryor's No. 25 jersey and a helmet.
It was a special way to end a special day. All the children who left the facility that afternoon had smiles on their faces. It was an opportunity to forget what they have been through over the years, and it was a way for the Cardinals to say thank you for all that they have been blessed with.