LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – What do you do the day after a tough rivalry loss, with the defeat still stinging in your mind and the taste still in your mouth? The University of Louisville football team got out of bed, got out the door and did some giving.
The entire team bused to the Walmart at Bashford Manor. Each player was given a $20 allowance and the age and gender of a young child, and they poured into the Walmart aisles with purpose – and questions.
"What does a 4-year old girl want?" one player asked WDRB reporter Hayden Ristevski.
He wasn't the only one wondering what to get a kid of a certain age.
"Ask Seth (Dawkins)," a teammate said. "He's got a little girl."
The event was prescheduled. Win or lose, the Louisville players were going shopping – and then back to the football complex to box up the toys in shoebox-sized packages, which will soon be shipped to kids across more than 100 countries through Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse.
"It's really important," offensive lineman Mekhi Becton said. "We saw a video of a little kid — he got excited about the box (and) he didn't even open it yet. So us getting things that they would never have, and we can do something like this, it's great. It's a great feeling. ... It shows that the things that we do are bigger than us. We're not just doing it for us, we're doing it for a lot of the kids that look up to us."
"(The game) is already over and done with; you can't change the past. Might as well put a smile on your face, and what better way to do that than giving back?" added long snapper Thomas Nauert, who was shopping for a girl in the 10-14 age range. "Luckily, it's not that hard cause I've got a little sister who is 13 so all this stuff (is) stuff she wants so I'm kind of pre-Christmas shopping for her. ... I'm from the Louisville area and I've kind of always wanted to give back to my community."
Back at the facility, it was a rush of tape, rubber bands and laughs as players crammed their purchases into the boxes. Each one then double-timed it to the Cardinal Stadium field for a quick picture before piling up the boxes and heading out.
The whole project took about four hours. But it helped a group of guys see a bit of the bigger picture, on a day when the bigger picture was appreciated.
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