Birmingham Bowl teams make memorable visit to Children’s of Alabama

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Texas Tech’s Mychealon Thomas and a child at Children’s of Alabama, photo by Bham Now

Nothing is more heartwarming than seeing a 325 -pound defensive linemen slowly bend down to sit at a table next to a little boy who is a patient at Children’s of Alabama and start drawing and decorating a paper Christmas tree.

The football player, Texas Tech’s Mychealon Thomas and his new friend and fellow artist were focused on completing the task at hand, passing magic markers between each other and drawing colorful ornaments and lights on an outline of a Christmas tree.

They just sat there and worked enjoying each others company.

And nothing could pull them away from the job. Texas Tech’s Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury sat down with them.  They kept working.

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Photo by Bham Now

University of South Florida Head Coach Charlie Strong walked in, and while the two coaches in tomorrow’s Birmingham Bowl chatted, Thomas and the young man continued their work.

Head Coaches Charlie Strong and Kliff Kingsbury, photo by Bham Now
Special moments

This was just one of many special moments that occurred yesterday when the players and coaches from the University of South Florida and Texas Tech visited Children’s of Alabama, three days before the kickoff of the Birmingham Bowl on Saturday.

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University of South Alabama player playing video games with a child from Children’s of Alabama

You could visibly see the players and coaches smile from ear to ear and have fun with the children, especially when one child challenged them to pick a team  – Alabama or Auburn.

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Photo by Bham Now

Coach Strong summed up  why this visit was meaningful to both teams.

“We always talk about sacrificing, giving back to the community. I tell them ( players) all the time, they have a platform and a lot of young children get a chance to watch them play and see them at Children’s hospital,” stated Strong.

We kinda take for granted at times who we are and now you have a chance to impact someone else. Even if it is to just to bring a smile.

I have so much respect for the people who work here, they take so much of their time and give. We have a chance, these two teams, to be around these young kids and just try to  brighten their day.”

Strong is right about the players brightening the day for the kids at Children’s of Alabama.

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Head coaches Kliff Kingsbury and Charlie Strong

But as evidenced by the photos of both Strong and Coach Kingsbury and their players, the children equally brightened  and inspired  our visitors from Texas and Florida, and made their visit to Birmingham, Alabama one to always remember.

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Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.