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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.