Irish athletes throw Christmas party for children

By: NewsCenter16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter16 Staff Email

Notre Dame athletes spread holiday cheer Thursday night at their annual Christmas party at the Joyce Center.

It was a special party for pediatric patients from Memorial Hospital and St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.

The kids did holiday arts and crafts and even got their faces painted.

Student-athletes from the Irish football team to the swimming and basketball teams all took part. The players say that seeing the joy on the children's faces is what the holiday season is all about.

"To come here and just hang with little kids who are battling with a very serious thing but at the same time have such joy," Notre Dame football player Matthias Farley said. "It is really encouraging. I think it adds a lot of energy to everyone's buckets and encourages people to keep on doing what they are doing because they are not dealing with a life or death situation."

After a couple of hours of making cookies and playing games the coaches on hand, the kids, and the student athletes were smiling ear to ear.

"This is one of the best nights at Notre Dame," Irish softball coach Deanna Gumpf said. "It is the one that I look the most forward to, except for the season of course. I love watching my players interact with all of the kids. It is just a feel good night because for all of those kids you are making a difference in their lives."

Eventually it became hard to tell who was having more fun, the kids or the athletes?

"I think it is 50/50 right now," Notre Dame women's basketball player Ariel Braker said. "I think the kids are excited to be here, but I think the athletes are more excited to be here. You know, being able to help [the kids] out and to give back."

It is also finals time week at Notre Dame so on top of being able to give back to the community the student athletes also got a nice little study break.

"I had to think about coming here for a split second," Notre Dame swimmer Hannah Bowen said. "It is like the greatest study break ever to be able to come here and play with kids and be involved in the community."
And, it wouldn't be the holidays without Santa.

He made an appearance at the Joyce Center, too.

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