Football Week encourages community bonding with athletes

Grambling Tiger Football Week activities closed out with a community service project, barbecue and the annual spring Black and Gold Game.Quarterback John Rivers said it was a good experience for him as a freshman. “The football team interacted with the students on a different level than just performing at a football game,” said the Birmingham native.

Rivers said football week was a fun and exciting way for players to interact with students and meet new people.

Rivers’ favorite part of football week was feeding the faculty. “My teammates and I actually got to give back to the teachers just because. We were not asking for anything. We were just being thoughtful of all the extra things that teachers do to help us,” he said.

As part of their community service project, the team assisted in McCall Dining Hall. The G-men, who sported their football jerseys, scanned cards, served food and cleaned up.

Coach Kalvin Pearson, who coordinated this effort, said the dining hall was chosen because that is the place where most of the students eat.

“We tried to give the workers a break for at least one day. The students interact with them every day, usually two or three times a day,” he said.

Defensive tackle Antoine Rogers said it was a good way to give back to the community and serve as positive role models.

“Students look up to us. We got positive reactions from the students we served. Some of them even laughed,” said Rogers, a senior majoring in business management.

Rogers said he gained an appreciation for what the cafeteria workers do on a daily basis. “The steam from the machines is hot. I sweated more than I sweat at practice,” he said.

GSU student Chelsea Smith said this community service activity was very good for the football team.

“Athletes are upheld on campus and looked at as role models. It might inspire others to do something, since the football team is doing it,” said Smith. Smith is a nursing major from Bogalusa.

The football players and coaching staff also had a chance to be shown appreciation. GSU’s Douglas L. Williams Alumni Chapter of Houston hosted a barbecue for them on Friday.

Felicia Henry, president of the chapter, said the chapter hosted the cookout to support the players and new coaching staff.

Henry said, “It turned out well and was well attended. Members of the chapter said that were glad to do it, and Coach Williams was grateful.We would like to do it annually.”

Head football coach Doug Williams said Football Week is a good thing. “We did it when I was here before. Kalvin (Pearson) and Vyron (Brown) were involved in Football Week as players. They took the lead to do it and bring it back,” said Williams.

Brown, the offensive coordinator, said now he is a mentor and facilitator. He said it gave him a chance to get experience and have fun while doing it.

“We were able to teach them about reaching out to the student body and form a connection with the campus and community. ‘We Are Grambling‘ is our new slogan, so we tried to create a family atmosphere for everyone,” he said.

Pearson said, “Overall, I was pleased with Football Week. There was a lot of participation from different organizations. The students and players responded well.”

Williams said, “The players did a tremendous job. At the end of the day, that is what it is all about – the players.