Several members of the Middlesboro football team and line coach Daniel Derenger took some time Thursday to pay a visit to the residents at the Middlesboro Nursing and Rehabilition Facility. It was the second year in a row they’ve gone to the facility during the preseason.
“This was all based on the kids’ idea. They wanted to do this, they just needed somebody to come and supervise,” said Derenger. “You know, people say Middlesboro kids don’t act as good as those at some other schools around. I have to disagree with them when stuff like this happens — I’ve got a great group of kids.”
MHS players taking part in the visit were Donnie Foister, Jake Brock, Major Edwards, Jared Hoskins, Matthew Schneider, Tyler Prater, Nick Shoffner and Hunter Collett along with future Jacket Colton Jones.
The Players started the day by making a round inside to meet some of the residents who weren’t able to come outside. They provided smiles and words of encouragement on the visit while receiving wishes of good luck for the upcoming season. There were even a few times when the players were treated with stories about their fathers’ and grandfathers’ playing days back when they were in high school.
Back outside the players greeted a large group of residents in front of the facility and took time to shake everyone’s hand and have a brief conversation. Then the players provided lessons in the bean-bag toss game Corn-hole and also entertained the residents with competitions in a variety of silly games. (One highlight: The elephant walk, in which Collett and Shoffner each put a pair of pantyhose over their head with baseball providing the weight for one leg to dangle like an elephant’s trunk. Shoffner came out on top in a race to see who could knock over eight water bottles by swining their trunk.)
Donuts, juice and other refreshments were served. The day provided some perspective for the players and was an opportunity for the residents to get outside, enjoy the company of younger folks and even relive a bit of their high school days.
“We just got back from camp where it was 100 degree weather and no air conditioning. The kids wanted to come out and sacrifice their time and be with these people and they enjoyed every minute of it,” Derenger added. “It’s good to have relationships with the older folks.”
Middlesboro’s ‘Midnite Madness’ is tonight at Bradner Stadium. The cake auction and dunking booth will be starting at about 6:30 p.m. with player introductions to start around 7 p.m.