There was a steady flow of princesses, super heroes, animals, and characters of all sorts down the Row along the LSU lakes Sunday evening where LSU Greek Life and LSU athletics welcomed the community in a festive Halloween celebration called “Trick or Treat Down the Row.” The scene, filled with kids in their favorite costumes trick-or-treating along the path on a warm fall day, was far too adorable to be anything but a blast. Families were all smiles as they visited with members of the athletic department outside the Lod Cook Alumni Center. Here, the student-athletes of each sport enjoyed a chance to give back to the community as they hosted games for the children and passed out candy.
The games, each correlating to the station’s hosting sport, not only gave the kids a chance to meet their favorite athletes, but a chance to interact with them and make memorable connections. Children playfully contested with athletes in a match of volleyball, dunked with the men’s and women’s basketball teams, threw strikes with softball and baseball, and tested their ring-toss skills with swimming and diving among countless other activities. Through these activities children enjoyed learning skills from their favorite sports with LSU’s finest and were encouraged as they explored new games moving from booth to booth.
The excitement glowing on the children’s faces was contagious. Justin Jones, a freshman football player, especially enjoyed the event as it combines, “one of [his] more favorite seasonal traditions,” and his passion for working with children. He cheerfully admitted, “I just love working with kids. When you see a kid smile, it’s hard for you not to smile.”
It is definite that while the kids were having a great time, the athletes were too. Dressed as a minion, Myia Hambrick, a junior gymnast, watched her teammate hold hands with a fairy tip-toing across the balance beam as she stated grinning from ear-to-ear that this event is “one of our favorites.”
It is evident the old saying, “It’s better to give, than to receive,” rings true for LSU athletics. The opportunity for the players to interact and make meaningful bonds with the kids who look up to them is both inspiring and humbling. This was visible, as they shared the support they enjoy from the community throughout the year. Sophomore infielder with LSU baseball, Chris Reid, expresses “It means a lot to us, that we can give back to our community.”
Senior basketball forward, Brian Bridgewater, agrees as he hands a basketball to a tiny super hero, “giving back to the community is always a good thing.” This sentiment is echoed across the lawn from athletes of every class and sport. As Becca Weissmann, a freshman on the women’s tennis team, passes out candy, with cat whiskers painted across her face realizes the significance of the event stating, “I think it’s awesome! I think it’s great to be a part of this team and be able to give back and do this for the kids on Halloween.”
For little ones, the excitement of dressing as their favorite character, gathering with family and friends to trick-or-treat and play games at fall festivals is always a special experience. Combining this nostalgic tradition with the thrill of interacting with their own super heroes is absolutely exhilarating. Though this event only lasted a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, and only consisted of simple fun and games, the warmth of the memorable experience will ripple far beyond the expiration date on the fun sized candy bars for both the athletes and children. The impact of sharing support between LSU athletics and the community is immeasurable. Bringing everyone together as one shapes the future of our athletes, the sports teams, and the dreams of the children who enjoyed this annual event.