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Courage Camp

CRAWFORD | Louisville football's Courage Camp gives back to players, and kids it serves

  • 1 min to read

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On the heels of an unspeakably bad season, it's easy to forget a lot of the good that came before. Credit Bobby Petrino for a tradition that outlives him and which means as much as any win on the football field.

For the past five years, the University of Louisville football program has played host to Courage Camp, which gives kids from around the region who have fought cancer and other illnesses a chance to get away from it all, to interact with Cardinals' players and to be "regular" kids for a day.

I am moved by it every year, as kids run through the drills, show off their celebration dances and head back into line. And I am moved by the players, who, motivated by the kids, get more and more into each drill as the event goes by.

"I think our players get more out of it than the kids do," said Chris Morgan, Louisville's Fellowship of Christian Athletes Chaplain and yhe assistant director of student-athlete leadership and development.

It's a volunteer program. Nobody tells players to take a day off to show up and work with these kids. Nobody keeps score of who is there. Yet they show up in large numbers. Puma Pass has never missed one. Malik Cunningham was right beside him. Dez Fitzpatrick was leading one drill, Seth Dawkins another.

"This is very important," Cunningham said. "Some of those kids, they've been dealing with hard times since they were born. I met some little girls today who were in the same heart surgery together, and that's amazing. We're just trying to give something to these kids."

Running back Dae Williams said, "Knowing that these kids enjoy this so much means so much to me. I've never done this that they didn't give more to me than I did to them. It's humbling."

As Williams turned to go speak to the assembled group, I noticed the back of his shirt said this: "Run in such a way that you may win. 1 Corinthians 9:24."

This kind of event underscores the real meaning of wins and losses.

Louisville will open fall camp on Aug. 4. But this camp holds a special place for the program.

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