Big 33. More than a game!Written by: Billy Splain on Sunday, June 19th, 2011
Hershey, PA – The Big 33 game has meant so much to both the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania in so many ways. It’s not just a football game pitting the best that both states have to offer in high school football talent. The game gives many an opportunity to be a part of this spectacle and show the support that is given to those who are less fortunate or are battling circumstances that are out of their control. First and foremost the recognition given to those who are part of our armed forces are part of what this game stands for.
In addition, the support that is shown to children that have physically debilitating diseases and the way these star athletes become their buddies puts a smile on their faces and makes both the parents of the physically disabled and the players very proud of their kids. The endearing support that some of the best high school cheerleaders in both states give to those disabled girls who took part in the cheerleading was very heartwarming as well. And finally, a toast is given to those “host families” that welcome these kids who travel from great distances so they can be welcomed into their homes.
The Big 33 is more than a game. It stands for the recognition for achievement during one’s playing career and the opportunity to move on to the next level of competition and education. It also gives recognition to those who have an appreciation for and assistance to those who need it the most. The amount of people positively affected by this experience will last a lifetime.
This experience goes far beyond the numbers on the scoreboard at the end of the game. For all these facts alone it is without question that the Big 33 does it right.
Finally, here are some intriguing (and heartwarming) things that this reporter experienced while roaming the sidelines:
• As Lafayette Pitts (Woodland Hills/University of Pittsburgh) greets his buddy before the game, he hugs the parent, taps his buddy on the chest, gives him thumbs up sign and puts a medal over his head. This kid lit up like a Christmas tree.
• The amazing job done on the National Anthem by a Bishop McDevitt cheerleader.
• The helicopter making the turns around the stadium.
• The amazing cut back ability of Ohio MVP, RB, Akise Teague (Youngstown Ursaline/Univ of Cincinnati)
• The pair of Teague and Jameel Poteat going to Cincinnati
• The size of Shawn Oakman (Penn Wood/Penn State)
• The nonstop motor of Fairview/Penn State lineman Jordan Kerner
• The amazing speed, agility, leaping ability and hands of Ohio WR Devin Smith (Massillon/Ohio State)
• The ground and pound running of PA MVP Sean Barowski (McDevitt/Rutgers)
• One of the disabled PA cheerleaders doing a routine
• The fan support for Jalen Fitzpatrick
• The number of Ohio players who will play at the University of Toledo
• Desimon Green rushing from the edge on the defense
• The rocket arm of Matt Johnson (McDevitt/Bowling Green)
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