September 25, 2013 | 916 views
High School Sports
North football team hosts special guests
There’s a scene in The Blind Side where Leigh Anne Touhy (the character played by Sandra Bullock) sets a friend straight after it’s suggested that her acts of kindness were changing Michael Oher’s life. Tuohy corrected the assertion by saying, “No. He’s changing mine.”
There’s a similar feeling at Valley Stream North, where the football team makes annual visits to St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children to lift the spirits of children of St. Mary’s, one of the country’s premier providers of post-acute care for kids with special needs and life-limiting conditions.
While the smiles on the faces of the young children speak volumes, the players and coaches at North may be the ones who benefit most. “I’m really glad they came out to the game,” Spartans senior captain Pat Brady said at last Saturday’s homecoming. “It’s just a great experience for us. After the last visit to the hospital, we wrote about how it changed our lives. It’s real special to be able to do something for them.”
The players and coaches at North have been building this special bond with the children at St. Mary’s for nearly a decade. Before the opening kickoff of North’s 35-12 victory over East Rockaway, four patients from St. Mary’s were wheeled out to midfield by North’s captains for the coin toss.
It’s a day the children from the hospital look forward to. We try to give the children the same opportunities that every other child has,” said Jessica O’Hagan, manager of Therapeutic Recreational Activities. “Other teens would be going to high school football games and having a nice time with their friends. It’s a sense of normalcy. They get very excited when the North players come to the hospital, and when they get to come to the games.”
North head coach Tom Schiavo, the man responsible for the relationship between his program and the children, believes it’s one of the great traditions at North. “It’s something that everyone expects now,” Schiavo said. “The kids love it; it’s one of the highlights of the season. I think that we get more out of it than the kids from St. Mary’s do. I look at it like this; these guys are going to be football players for a very brief time. They’re going to be men for their whole lives. This helps them be better men.”