I know I promised to come back yesterday with that Thursday Bowl event rundown, but when game day hit, it was nonstop! I started Thursday morning at the All Childrens Hospital in St. Petersburg Florida. We all met in the lobby for photos and meet and greet. Honorary Game Chairman, NFL Pro Bowler and former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Mike Alstott was my first interview of the day. Some things are bigger than the game of football and that never more true than on Thursday. Mike explained how it was so important for student/athletes to understand the importance of giving back and serving others, especially these special children. Starting players from both Ball State and UCF participated and were thrilled to be there with these kids who epitomize the word bravery. Some were shy, some were not, all were beautiful and strong in spirit. The parents were equally brave and patient, lovingly and unselfishly dealing with their loved ones on a day to day basis.
This visit was the most special moment of the Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl week for me. It brought everything into perspective. I reflected on what these kids as young as some of them are, deal with on an hourly basis. It’s not a normal lifestyle and takes a special soul to endure. Be thankful everyday for your health – it is truly a blessing.
We jetted straight from the hospital visit to the Renaissance Vinoy to prepare for the Kickoff Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Danny Wuerffel. Dave Reynolds WFLA Channel 8 Sportscaster did an excellent job as Master of Ceremonies and the chocolate ganache cake for dessert was decadent! Both coaches and school athletic directors spoke and then Danny. His speech was to heartfelt. The bullet points he covered as both teams listened intently was, 1) life is tough 2) it’s not about you.
We left the luncheon and it was back to the beach for the battle of the bands – UCF showed the Ball State band what was up with musical renditions of many poplular songs.
Cheerleaders were front flipping, back flipping, baton twirling and mascots were representing in style! The cheerleader tug-o-war was one of the most competitive I’ve seen in a while and the corn fritter earing contest was very filling! It was a battle of the sexes in the dance contest and ended up being a tie. No matter – everyone was just taking in the sunshine, festivities and St. Petersburgs, pristine shoreline.
After that it was on to Ferg’s for the block party and pep rally! What a jam-packed, fun-filled day!! I’ll be back in just a little bit with the last installment of my blog, recapping the tailgating extravaganza and the big game where UCF took down Ball State 38-17. I’m Sonee your 2012 Game Host and you can stay connected by following me on Twitter, Facebook and my weekly sports column, Sonee’s FloridaSports Report!
- Let the FUN Begin!
- Lights, Cameras, Plenty of Press!
- Tailgating, Tackling and Touchdowns!
- Sonee Thompson the Winner of the 2012 Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl Talent Tryouts!
- Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl at Kickoff Luncheon with NFL Hall-of-Famer Kellen Winslow