GREENFIELD — There’s more to life than sports.
Eastern Hancock third- and fourth-grade football players learned that lesson Thursday at the Springhurst Health Campus. The team, along with coaches and parents, visited the facility in hopes the young athletes would learn about community and how important it is to give back.
Amber Shultz, who works in Environment Services at Springhurst, said the idea for the visit was generated this past summer. Shultz is married to Clayton Shultz, who serves as the defensive coordinator for the Royals’ varsity team and is in charge of the youth league.
“Leadership that serves,” Amber said of the Royals’ team motto. “The community gives back to you, whether you realize it or not.”
Betty Carder, a resident at Springhurst, sat outside the “sun room” and watched as the youngsters were coached through drills. A handful of others sat outside, as well, with countless more peering through the windows inside.
“It is awesome,” Carder said, who misses watching sports. “I can remember when my boys were that age. Kids, they have to learn something, and I’m so grateful that they can.”
She was just one of the many residents whose day was brightened simply by an elementary student. According to Mike Carter, assistant third- and fourth-grade football coach, the kids were just as excited to be there.
“I guess a few of them got in trouble at school today, because they were so excited to get out here,” he said. “If you can get involved with your local community, no matter what age, it’s important.”
Added Amber, “My residents have talked about it since Tuesday. They are in there with pom-poms.”
She also said how beneficial the visit was for both parties. Sometimes it’s just nice to escape the “norm.”
“It exposes them to things that they would not see otherwise,” Amber said. “The interaction between an elderly resident and a young child, there’s years of gaps, but when the two of them are together, it’s like no time is lost.”
The team later went inside to relax and visit with residents before heading home. It’s safe to say both parties slept with full hearts Thursday night.
“I definitely think we’ll be back next year,” Carter said. “We should do this more often.”