Dec 27, 2014

Tigers, Gophers Entertain Local Children At Day For Kids

On Saturday, players from the University of Minnesota and the University of Missouri got to be kids again. They participated in Day for Kids at DisneyQuest, an indoor theme park at Downtown Disney.

“This is what college football is all about; student athletes helping out kids through their sport,” Minnesota redshirt junior punter Peter Mortell said. “We’re definitely excited to be here for the football game but to participate in this event is exciting and we’re excited to be here.”

For two hours the players hung out with kids from various youth organizations from around Central Florida and played games and rode the rides inside DisneyQuest. There are five levels inside the building with activities ranging from learning how to draw your favorite Disney character to building your own virtual roller coaster.

“This is a blessing and an honor ,” Missouri redshirt senior defensive lineman Markus Golden said.  “I have a lot of kids in my family so I love to look out for the kids. The younger generation look up to us so it feels good to give back to them.”

Though the event is aimed at the kids, Golden said that they are just as excited as the kids to play the games.

“It’ll be nice to show the kids that we are just like them,” Golden said. “We are just big kids ourselves. We like to play games and have fun just like they do so it’s important to let them know we are just like them but bigger.”

The event comes in the middle of the practice week so the players were excited to get a chance to relax.

“This gives us a good relaxed day,” Missouri redshirt senior tailback Marcus Murphy said. “It’s nice to have a day where we just to come out here and enjoying the day with the kids.”

Despite the break from game prep, there was no shortage of competition. Whether it was against the opposing team or their own teammates, players were competing against one another in almost everything.

“It speaks volumes when we come out and do something like this,” Murphy said. “We always want to give back to the younger kids and the community. It’s important to do things like this to show them support.”

With just four days left before the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl Murphy says that this might be the highlight of his trip so far in Orlando.

“The best feeling in the world to see the kids look up at you and smile,” Murphy said. “To put a smile on their face and see that they’re having fun is the most important thing we can do.”

Mortell had similar feelings about the feelings they have about the event.

“I think some of our players might be more excited than the kids are,” Mortell said. “Anytime you get to go into the community and help kids other than a football setting is an honor.”

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