Wabash Soccer 2009: A Trip to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital

 

Volunteer vs. solidarity
Jon Funston ’10
 
Eduardo Galeano is quoted in saying, “I do not believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is so vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person. I have a lot to learn from other people.”
 
Galeano’s perspective on volunteerism is one that our Wabash soccer team has recently shared. I joined 25 fellow players and our coaching staff as we all took an afternoon off from soccer and visited the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. We spent our time there visiting and learning with children who are struggling with terminal illnesses, and their parents. 
 
It is too often that people volunteer to “help” others. This is not what service should be about, and this was not what our trip was about. We weren’t in the hospital to give to the unfortunate. That is a disrespectful position to hold. We were there to share an experience with children and parents — they offered as much or more to our team than we could give them. They shared their smiles, positivity. Even when faced with serious illness, they gave us memories, and gifted a new found humility. 
 
And, although we came bearing gifts, we quickly realized that we too had much more to offer than material possessions. We quickly began to reciprocate the smiles, stories and enjoyment of company that the children/parents immediately gifted us. 
 
We were the first group of Wallies to make the trip to Peyton Manning’s Hospital. As I sit here packed in a van with my teammates, I simultaneously struggle with and enjoy the memories of the children we met. I hope that we are not the last group of Wallies that experience this type of solidarity.

 

For The Kids
Mark Babcock ’11

We’ve returned from Argentina and everyone is settling into the soccer routine. Though soccer takes up most of the day, Thursday we were fortunate enough to be able to make a trip to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent in Indianapolis. Ian’s aunt, or Tia for those of you following the Argentina blogs, was able to set this wonderful experience up for us.

Along with us we brought some goodies for the kids. We had some Wally Wabash stickers, some signed team pictures, little Wabash stuffed animals, and of course a few soft soccer balls. We we able to visit a few patients’ rooms distributing the gifts amongst them all. We ran into a few kids who played soccer in the past as well as other sports.

One boy was a former goalkeeper and defender, so we had that in common. He is also a Cubs fan, but I told I would let that slide. Good thing JP wasn’t with me (Go Sox).

Another young girl requested that she be able to see the two best looking guys from the group. Now, Dylan and myself were the obvious choice for this, but we let some of the younger players step up and brighten up her day.

It was a very rewarding experience. It’s one of the best feelings when you see the large smile on the kids’ faces even with the adversity they are facing. It’s really amazing that through their troubles they can still find it within themselves to smile and laugh. It’s a quality that we should all take note of when we feel that things couldn’t get any worse. We have all seen that it could.

After seeing the slums and poorer areas of Buenos Aires and now after visiting the Children in the hospital, our eyes should be opened to see how truly fortunate most of us are. To be able to play soccer everyday, attend college, and to just be able to have amazing opportunities that not everybody has is something we should not take for granted. This preseason has continued to be one to remember and I’m sure it will continue that way.

chao,
Mark

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3 Responses to Wabash Soccer 2009: A Trip to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital

  1. You are doing a very important work guys, keep on going!

  2. These kids must have been given such a boost by seeing these soccer players. It’s only a small thing to the players but will mean so much to those kids and probably mean they recover quicker