By Samantha Parker, www.armedforcesbowl.com
The football players and cheerleaders from both the Air Force Academy and Rice University were all smiles today as they visited Cook's Children's Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.
The representatives from each team spent time with the children, boosting their spirits, and offering kind words of encouragement to the children on the main floor of the hospital.
The gifts handed out ranged from toys and movies, to signed footballs and t-shirts – anything and everything that you could need for children of all ages. Although, the most important gift that was given was the gift of happiness and laughter that came over all of the children after meeting the players and cheerleaders from each team.
"Seeing the looks on the kids faces when we give them gifts gives me a good feeling," said Air Force's Tyrone Sauls.
And for some players, the hospital visit really hit close to home. Air Force's Zack Hoffmann was happy to give back to a similar place his little brother spent quite few months enduring multiple heart surgeries in, stating, "Some of us have been in places like this one [like me], so it makes us happy to come here and help."
Hospital visits, like this one, really enforce the sense of community and giving back that a bowl game tries to achieve. For Rice's Nate Richards, who is from Texas, he stated that it's not only touching to see the smiles on the children's faces, but was touching because he is from the area and although Texas is a large state, it is a small community where people really care about each other.
For everyone who attended today's Cook's Children's Hospital visit, all agreed that the event proved to demonstrate that this week is "More Than A Bowl Game".