By Cody Soto
No. 12 Baylor football raised over $6,000 in last weekend’s Touchdown Pledge Drive to fund research for cerebral palsy through the team’s Uplifting Athletes chapter.
By scoring touchdowns, something that the Bears seem to do frequently and in mass quantities, the team was able to bring hope to thousands of people with cerebral palsy where funds are being allocated to other more notable diseases.
After the game, senior receiver Levi Norwood talked to me about the outcome of the event, and I couldn’t help but notice the smile that he had on his face. The heartfelt words he spoke along with several other players at last Monday’s press conference concerning the pledge drive showed me that this team truly rallied behind the event.
Teams like Baylor football show the nation that being a part of something bigger than themselves is beneficial not only to the cause, but to the fans, the college football image and the players as well.
Becoming involved with organizations outside the normal school clubs is great for teams to develop a good image. The Uplifting Athletes organization and Baylor Bears football team work well together because they are able to promote each other in the most positive way. When there is positivity in the publicity that is released about the team and what they are doing, athletic programs are seen as respectable.
So many athletes have been in the media because of the bad decisions that they have made over the past few years; those problems range from illegal drug use to illicit behavior. With Baylor football supporting cerebral palsy research through Uplifting Athletes, it gives society the reassurance that there are responsible and well-behaved young men who still play football.
When the Bears rally behind a cause like cerebral palsy awareness and research, they are using their national spotlight in the right way. Baylor is one of the most improved college football programs in the country, and the team is currently ranked in the Top 25, so it’s important for the team to realize that all eyes are on them.
The rise of interest in Baylor football should provide an incentive for the players to make a difference. Fans will follow in the footsteps of the teams that influence them. The fact that college football players have that much influence in the hands is incredible, and it’s their job to make something of it.
With the team as their advocate, organizations that raise money for worthy causes are able to greatly benefit. More people are drawn to the cause when they have sports teams promoting their events, and in turn, more money is donated to the organization. Because sports are a big part of American tradition, organizations need to team up with teams to raise money and awareness.
While everyone at a game may not necessarily donate money for research, the likelihood of knowing the reason for the event will leave an impact on him or her. Baylor football has been able to raise money for cerebral palsy through two Uplifting Athletes events, and it has brought a lot of attention to the community of Waco.
The impact of raising awareness and money for cerebral palsy also benefits the players that are involved. The involvement brings the student-athletes down to earth after sometimes getting engulfed in all the attention while playing for a college team.
Because they have a big influence on the community, especially teenagers and young kids, it’s their responsibility to take what they’ve been given and give back. Like Norwood said last Saturday, every student-athlete has been given a blessing to play a sport that they love. If they weren’t going to give back, he said that would be wrong.
That’s the mentality that every student-athlete should have. When they remain grounded and participate in community and national campaigns for rare diseases, it gives players something intangible to leave with after they graduate from college.
Baylor football is performing well on the field, and their efforts off the field are not going unnoticed. With the Touchdown Pledge Drive finished, the Bears have an experience that they won’t be able to replicate.
Raising research money and scoring touchdowns in the game that they love is a win-win for Baylor football and the thousands who suffer from cerebral palsy. They are taking the blessings that have been given to them to support a great cause. Who wouldn’t want to root for a team like that?