Time to Shrine Beyond The Field

Team North with their Co-Captain Shriner Patient, Jordan Burtzel. (KHGI)

Shrine Bowl week is here and today dozens of patients from across Nebraska were spoiled with an entire afternoon spending time with the both rosters playing the charity game for their cause.

For these children; it's much more than a game.

In the midst of prepping for their final game as a high schooler on the gridiron, each player from the North and South Shrine Bowl teams took a breather from the practice field today for a chance to spend time with who the game is really about.

"It's just really cool to see something that's bigger than ourselves and bigger than football," Aurora DB Cal Narber said. "Realizing that there's bigger things to life then games and understanding that getting the opportunity to be with these kids is pretty cool."

"I know there coming out here and we're just going to try and make them feel as welcomed as possible, Kohlten Keezer of Grand Island said. "Just try to get them up and going and have a good time."

"It's not just another football game," Shriners patient Carson Schnitzer explained. "They're playing for a cause and it's not just any other football game."

Patients of Shriners Hospital, who everyday face challenges in the game of life, were shifted to all smiles this morning being greeted by many of the top football players across Nebraska.

"It's just a great experience for the kids, McCook OL Hunter Hays stated. "You know they all look up to us a role models and you just want to be the best you can and interact with all of them and have a good time."

"I want them to remember this day for as long as they can because it's a special day," Kearney Catholic wide receiver Brett Kaiser said. "And it's a special opportunity for everyone here not just for the kids, but for us just as much."

As the day got underway, the athletes were split up into groups and taken through stations where the kids of Shriners took the opportunity to teach them the kind of treatments the Hospital offers. Plus showing them the daily obstacles they face with different conditions, yet never give up.

"It's really fun kicking their busts," Shriners patient Poppy Doele joked. "I mean they're older kids so it's really fun just seeing them struggle sometimes and they have two hands."

Everybody in life faces challenges, but not everyone may want to overcome what they face, so that's why the biggest message these Shriner patients have for all the athletes here is always keep fighting.

"I think it's great for them to hear that life has adversity," coach Rashawn Harvey said. "You know to think outside of you own 20 square feet that they have to go through on a daily basis and what we take for granted they have to fight for every day and just hearing their story," Harvey continued.

The 2018 Shrine Bowl kicks-off Sat. June 2. at 2:00 p.m. over at UNK's Foster Field, with all proceeds going to charity for the Shriners Hospitals across Nebraska.

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