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Iowa State Daily

Cyclone football players participate in annual Victory Day celebration ahead of season opener

Children were welcomed into Jack Trice stadium as a part of the Iowa State football team’s annual Victory Day celebration, where the players made as many memories as the kids.

The Cyclones held their sixth annual Victory Day celebration, which welcomes kids with disabilities and their families onto MidAmerican Energy field, where they participate in football activities and drills.

The night began with the gleeful children rushing onto the field through a runnel of players with the marching band playing the Iowa State fight song. That is when the smiles began for not only the kids and their families but the players as well.

From there, the kids were able to participate in activities around the field including tackling and passing drills. All night long, they were assisted by players in going through activities and learned a bit of what it’s like to be a Cyclone.

“I just think it’s really cool to give these kids who don’t get the opportunity to do all the things normal kids do,” tight end Stevo Klotz said. “It’s just a really surreal experience, it’s fun to bring joy to these kids who don’t see it every day.”

Every kid’s night was highlighted by a rushing touchdown from the 10-yard line, with the Iowa State Spirit Squad and marching band cheering them on the whole way through.

One of the players who welcomed each kid into the endzone was defensive lineman J.R. Singleton, who said he could do this type of work with the kids all day long if he could.

“I think they kind of uplift my spirit, the grind of fall camp and everything, and then just being able to come out here and spend time with them,” Singleton said. “It helps my spirit.”

Singleton has participated in the last two Victory Days since his arrival in 2020 when the Cyclones were unable to hold the event due to COVID-19. After not hearing much about what the event was like until getting to experience it the following year, Singleton was eager to take advantage of the opportunity and give back to his community.

“It was a new experience but it was actually really cool,” Singleton said. “I’m all about impacting other people and getting impacted in return. It was just a really awesome experience.”

One thing that head coach Matt Campbell has preached over the past couple of years is developing his players not only on the field but off of it as well. He believes that tonight is not only a great night for the families but also for showing what an impact his players can make on their community.

“When you can serve and make a difference in the lives of others, it’s like your true fulfillment in life,” Campbell said. “At the end of the day, all these wins and records that you may break or great days and games have people are gonna forget that, but they’re not gonna forget how you treated people and made a difference in the lives of others.”

Campbell brought Victory Day over from Toledo, where he was the head coach for four seasons. He believes that it’s a great opportunity for his players to take advantage of the stage they have and be active in their community.

“To me, it’s how many ways you can make football and the opportunity to play the sport of football a service opportunity,” Campbell said. “My still all-time favorite thing that I get to do is teach young people how to become men. Part of this journey is finding multiple ways to do it but a night like this is a pivotal opportunity for growth.”

The Cyclones season will kick off their much anticipated season against UNI next Saturday at 1 p.m.

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