The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics hosted Christmas early this year with the annual “A Buccaneer Christmas” event on Wednesday night inside the MSHA Athletic Center.
Over 70 children from Johnson City Coalition for Kids joined the festivities as Santa Claus gave out presents with the help of ETSU student-athletes from football, baseball, cheerleading and dance teams.
Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Game Operations Lee Morrow organized the 16th annual event as he prepared soccer fields, basketball courts, baseball fields, cornhole and a disc golf hole for the kids to interact with the Buccaneer student-athletes.
“These kids come out and enjoy playing with the student-athletes. The kids look at them like super athletes”, said Morrow. “The whole event revolves around the interaction, and this year we did just that by having different athletic games around the entire dome.”
In his third year at the Buccaneer Christmas, junior baseball player Christian Bailey reflected on helping out with the festivities.
“It is nice giving back to the community and helping those in need during the holiday season,” said Bailey. “The community backs us all the game so it’s rewarding to do our part. Playing sports start at a young age, so we love to be able to interact with the children by playing games.”
ETSU sophomore wide receiver Drake Powell interacted with the Coalition for Kids for his third straight year. His favorite part of the event is seeing Santa come out, which puts a smile on all the kid’s faces.
“It is awesome to see the kids get excited when Santa comes out,” Powell said. “It’s important to give back to the Coalition for Kids. It is really fun to see the smiles on their faces, and to come out here an interact with the children.”
ETSU spirit squad members Sarah Jacobs and Maci Felts talk about how much enjoyment the Buccaneer Christmas brings to the kids, along with the fellow student-athletes.
“Coalition for Kids is such an amazing program, and I am very excited to be able to celebrate the holidays with them,” said Jacobs.
“We look forward to this event every year because the children get so exciting interacting with us and meeting Santa,” said Felts. “We enjoy playing games with the kids. We have as much fun as they do.”
The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics takes pride in its community service activities and strives for 100 percent participation from its student-athletes, coaches and administrators throughout the year.