A Lesson In Perspective

All-Star games were created so that elite athletes could display their talents against other elite athletes. That is exactly what the Shrine Bowl does when it features the finest prep stars from both North Carolina and South Carolina. But this particular game has a different purpose altogether, one that transcends the game of football completely...and the players who are involved know it.

There are few things as refreshing as young men--namely athletes--who get it.  Football offers lessons that few other sports can, and it validates the didactic nature of this game beloved by so many when some of its finest participants display a certain degree of humility.  That humility was on full display when a few of the top performers from this year's Shrine Bowl spoke about the real purpose of the event and what it meant for them to have the opportunity to visit some pretty special people.  



D.J. Swearinger

South Carolina



"It impacted me a whole lot, because going to the Shriner's Hospital, guys like us realize that we are really blessed and you gotta' thank God for something like that.  Seeing the situation they are in and seeing what we can do…then seeing that they can only do so much—and you know, going there and spending time with them and being role models for them is a nice thing and that's a big key." 

Being a role model and being in the position we are in comes with a lot of responsibility, and you have to look at when you were little, at how you looked up to guys, too.  So now when you get older, you got to be that guy that they can look up to...You gotta' do the good things so you can be the example for them, and you gotta' look at those things and it does come with a lot of responsibility, putting that on your shoulders.  You really gotta' keep your act together."





Demazio Skelton




 "You can gain so much seeing what those kids go through each day and then trying to compare yourself to them…seeing how you would do in their shoes—it's really hard to look at it that way.  It lets you know that you can't take things for granted, that you should be thankful for what you got…It really humbles you, really."





Walt Canty




"I think it did benefit me a lot…It just reminded me of how gifted we all really are, and it just reminded me not to take our talents for granted—and just to continue to give all of our thanks to God, because he is the one who is doing it for us."  







Sam Montgomery




"It makes me feel very honored and very blessed…It makes me feel like I need to do things right when I'm in front of people and when I'm not, because you never know who is watching.  I messed around and gave away all of my equipment, stuff that I was going to wear in the game and in practice, to some of the kids, because they have such a big heart.

I really need to be thankful for what I have and my ability and play to the fullest potential every time I step on the field, because those kids in there…I don't know what it's like, nobody really knows what it's like not to be able to walk, and maybe come out of those braces at a later age.  But those kids, they are the real fighters, and they are going to be the ones that I play for, that push me to get better and maybe make it to the NFL.  When I do, I'm going to donate as much money as I can to the Shriner's Organization, because I really love what they are doing."  





 "I feel blessed and thankful for what I have and not to take stuff for granted.  I felt touched by what I was seeing and how the kids are staying strong and surviving."   






Justice Cunningham

South Carolina



"It was very eye-opening to see the kids.  You could tell that they want to do the things that we do, but whatever is wrong with them is holding them back.  It just makes you really thank God for what he gave you in life."   






Alshon Jeffrey

Southern Cal



"We truly are blessed when we see kids like that.  There was this one kid that I talked to and he has a disability to deal with, but he keeps up with all these sports anyway.  He was pretty amazing."  





Will Simmons

East Carolina



"It opened my eyes a lot at how lucky I am.  I just wanted to make them happy."  









 "It was just life changing to see those kids like that and to see how excited they were to see us.  We pretty much felt like rock stars to them, and it's great to see that we excite people that much with the things we do, and that we're blessed with…that they might not be blessed with." 

* I tried to wrap the text but couldn't get past some formatting issues. So, please excuse the format and pay attention to the message--BH

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