The Florida State Seminoles and Notre Dame Fighting Irish football teams met on friendly terms today at Give Kids the World Village as part of Orlando Bowl Week.
The 147 families being hosted by Give Kids the World got a chance to meet players from both teams and take part in a variety of games and activities, including mini golf, basketball, line dancing and more.
“This is just awesome,” said Elizabeth Faircloth, mother of one of the visiting families. “We just got here last night and this exceeds anything our kids could have imagined.”
The Faircloths got a personal treat in meeting FSU tackle Garrett Faircloth. “My husband was ecstatic, even if he wasn’t related to us,” Elizabeth said. “We’ve never met a Faircloth playing football.”
“We try to make sure our guys do this kind of thing often,” Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher said. “We don’t have players who don’t understand. We’re one of these families. Being around [Fisher’s son] Ethan, the guys see it.
“One of the most important things you can do as an athlete is brighten someone’s day. And they brighten our day! Whatever problems you’re having — maybe your coach is riding you during practice or the media is saying whatever — it’s nothing comparatively.”
Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly also stressed the impact.
“Today is a special day,” he said. “The players get as much out of this as anyone. When we’ve done events like this in the past, the players all talk about the impact it had on them.”
One of those Fighting Irish players, senior linebacker Darius Fleming, expressed his personal connection.
“A friend of mine’s brother and sister have sickle cell and they struggle with it. They come out here and they can get their mind off other things,” Fleming said. “We’re happy we can be here to support these families. People say athletes are brave. We’re not brave, these families are the brave ones.”
Mitch Goldberg, Vice President of Operations for Give Kids the World, expressed his organization’s gratitude.
“When you get to interact with the players who are so full of enthusiasm, it’s great. We’ve got a great relationship with Florida Citrus Sports and we’re thrilled to host this.”
The Give Kids The World visit is one of several programs run by the Florida Citrus Sports Foundation MVPs, the organization’s charitable arm. The Foundation p is committed to enhancing the quality of life for disadvantaged youth and families in Central Florida through these programs. You can read more about the Foundation here.
Article by Neil Tredray