Xcel football athletes cheer for kids from the sideline

They’re the “creme de la creme”  of high school football players. This year’s crop of Xcel All–Star athletes come from all over the U.P., and this week, they’re in town for this weekend’s big game. Today, they spent some time away from the field to hang out with kids at the Bay Cliff Health Camp. We went along for the ride show how these athletes were able to excel, off the gridiron.

It was a day filled with rounds of applause, but not for who you might think. These All–Star athletes decided to sit this one out and cheer on a group of kids who’ve accomplished MONUMENTAL goals.

“Our kids are often the ones on the sideline, so what a wonderful opportunity for these football players to invite our kids with disabilities into the game so to speak,” said Tim Bennett, Camp Director, Bay Cliff Health Camp.

Excited doesn’t begin to describe how happy these kids were to meet some of their role models, they practiced drills all week and even came prepared with a bit of trash talk.

“I’ve been getting prepared by throwing and catching and kicking and tackling,” said Jack Betlem, Bay Cliff Health Camp.

“I’m a little nervous being such a big guy and with such small kids but I think it will be alright, said Bryson Heimerl, Xcel All–Star Athlete, West Team.

“Oh yeah, I took him down. I took him down good,” said Tim Minieole

“This weekend it will be east versus west, high school football at it’s finest. But these athletes tell me the true victory has been working with these kids, said ABC 10 Reporter, Danielle Davis.

Although most of their time was spent having fun, the true meaning of the All–Star visit was not lost on this special crop of athletes.

“It’s good to know that we can change someone’s life as being role models as being able to play the game it is nice knowing that they look up to us,” continued Heimerl, West Team Athlete.

Seth came to camp last year as an Xcel All–Star Athlete, and he was so impressed that he couldn’t resist the chance to spend more time with the kids. So, this year, he became a counselor.

“These are kids that can’t walk, these are kids that have struggles doing very basic things and they have a smile on their faces and that really puts your life in perspective. I thought, I need to come here, I thought I needed to help out, and the kids are so happy with just the smallest things I thought it was the sweetest thing in the world,” said Seth Rowles, Big Bay Camp Counselor.

Although they’re not used to being left out when it comes to playing the game, these All–Stars say, they’ve never been happier to cheer from the sidelines.