By Jose Chatham
Most football games start off by running through a tunnel and on to the field. This morning at Lowell Elementary, school started off in a similar fashion, but instead of hitting the field, the kids hit the classroom after running through a human tunnel of Moundbuilders.
It all began on Friday at 7:05 a.m. as twelve Moundbuilders lined up at the entrance of Winfield’s Lowell Elementary School and greeted every single student in grades K through 5.
The looks on the majority of the student were of confidence and smiles as they ran down the man-made tunnel on the way to class. Head coach Brad Griffin’s idea to start this community service was a great one.
“It’s something I’ve been wanting to do. We ask the kids and parents at our games to make a fan tunnel and it pumps us up, I think it’s only right that we go to their home field (school) and make a fan tunnel of SC players and pump them up for a great day of school,” said Griffin. “Also, it lets them know to stay in school and get good grades.”
This gesture was quite meaningful for the kids and the community as it appeared to lift everyone’s spirits, and with the football team giving back to the kids like this, it only serves to improve SC’s image as a whole.
“Were not just part of the Southwestern community but also the Winfield community, so a chance for us to be seen in public in a positive way is always great,” said Griffin. “This also gives the kids a great way to interact with the players because anytime a kid sees a uniform it’s a big deal.”
One of the players involved in this event was Xzavier Preston, junior linebacker, who admits he’s never experienced this type of close community involvement before.
“I never had a team come to my school and be a part of the community like SC football has been for the town of Winfield,” said Preston. “This gesture meant the world to me because if I was a kid coming to school and seeing a tunnel of college football players, I would have had the same smile these kids had this morning. I was glad to be a part of it.”
While children zoomed down the hall, Xzavier also chanted “be 1-0 today kids,” which meant attack the day and learn something new.
Silas Jefferson, senior running back, also took part in the unique occasion. With excitement, Jefferson was emotionally invested by shouting “You got to lock in son!” causing the kids to laugh while going on their way.
“This is what being an athlete is all about,” said Jefferson. “When I was a kid I wish I had this experience. Even as an adult it still hits home for me. All I did growing up was look up to the older football players, so me being in this position was really cool.”
Griffin plans to do this once a week at different schools over the course of the semester as a way to give back to the city of Winfield and to show how football is a platform we can use to spread positivity throughout the community.
Jose Chatham is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org