College Athletes Hang Out with Local Kids at UWS Holiday Party
As part of Week of Giving, families were invited to spend the day with Yellowjackets.
SUPERIOR, Wis.- As part of UWS Athletic Department’s 4th Annual Week of Giving, kids could come and use the campus as their playground, as they spent the afternoon with college athletes.
“Superior’s obviously a smaller town and we want the community’s support, and in order to get that you gotta support the community,” said Andrew Durham, a Senior on the UWS Hockey Team.
At Yellowjacket Athletics’s Holiday Party, families throughout the community were invited to come and skate, or play some fieldhouse games with the Yellowjackets.
“It’s really fun and you barely get to see them, so it’s, like, your only chance to meet them,” said young Bryson Stenroos.
The UW-Superior Students get to play their favorite sports with a different type of teammate: children.
“Show kids that, y’know I play tennis myself and tennis is a great sport for kids to learn, non-contact, you can play your whole life,” said Junior Tennis Player William Sherman. “I can teach them that.”
But if you think it’s all “teachable moments,” you’d be mistaken. The kids know they’re not here for lessons, they’re here to have a good time.
“Some kids don’t really want any pointers, some kids just want to play tag and throw the ball,” Durham said.
“But I mean, if I see someone who’s just learning, or struggling a little bit, yeah for sure I’ll tell them ‘bend their knees more, try this or try that.'”
These players know how important it is to thekids to spend just a couple of hours with their sports idols.
“I can remember being that age, y’know, being a young hockey player looking up to older players, whether it was college or the NHL or Juniors,” said Durham. “So I always make sure to focus on making sure we have time for them.”
It’s also a chance for the “mature college athletes” to let loose and goof off–three women’s hockey players dance to “Cotton Eye Joe” on the ice, while a men’s hockey player scares others by jokingly running into the boards.
“It’s fun for us as well, just get to act as kids for a little bit,” Durham said.
While having a blast on the ice or on the field, these kdis are learning the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
“If you’re active as a kid you’ll probably be more active as an adult and that will go a long way,” said Sherman. “‘Cause you only get one body, you gotta treat it right.”
The day playing with the little fans was a chance for the athletes to attract new fans to watch them play later on.
“When we have events like this it’s important for us to get out and get our faces seen and talk with people so that the community will turn around and support us when we need them at games,” Durham said.
It’s safe to say that these kids will be wanting to come back and cheer their new college friends on.
Some of them, like Bryson, dream of playing in their shoes (or skates) one day.
“I’m gonna, like, play for the UWS probably when I grow up.”