Grand Rapids Football-Victory Day

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Grand Rapids Victory Day began for our community in 2014.

 

2018 Victory day summed up by John Millea, MSHSL director of communications.

 

"The varsity kids wore their black jerseys and the Victory Day guests were thrilled to be given white jerseys. The cheerleaders were on hand to help in whatever way was needed (this involved a lot of cheering as well as hugging) and Thunderhawks alum Dylan Surface performed splendidly up in the press box as the stadium announcer, at one point suggesting the black jerseys needed to shore up their defense as they gave up touchdown after touchdown to the white jerseys. Had the marching band not been at a competition in Iowa, they would have been there to play the school song after each and every touchdown.

Smiles ruled the day. Some of the kids in white jerseys were a little timid, some of them quite young. Some of them took this very seriously; one young man put a mouthguard in place before each drill. Among the veterans of Victory Day are identical twins Bryce and Wyatt Geisler; they have been at all five Victory Days.

Bryce and Wyatt, born with Down syndrome 13 years ago, are the sons of Heidi and Beau Geisler; their dad is a Thunderhawks assistant boys hockey coach and the twins are embedded in local sports. 

“We love (Victory Day) because it’s a time for them to connect with typical peers in a setting that they don’t normally have the chance to, with girls and guys and a shared experience,” Heidi said. “When we come to the games they want to run out on the field and participate. And they can’t, but they know these are their boys and this is their team.”

The lessons in Victory Day are important, including for the varsity players in black jerseys. 

“It’s really just fun, seeing these kids come out and have the time of their lives,” said Hadyn Anderson. “It’s great to be a part of this. They have a blast and it makes us realize how lucky we are to play the game. It’s just awesome seeing them have a great time.”

Brendin Morlan talked about the difference between Friday night and Saturday morning.

“It’s a good feeling to see these kids come out here,” he said. “They don’t have the opportunities we do and it’s so awesome to see them get pumped up about what we get pumped up on Friday nights for.

“Any other day it would be tough getting out of bed, but today you’ve got this so you know you’re going to have a fun day. It kind of lifts your spirits after a night like last night.”

At the conclusion of Victory Day, everybody gathered for a giant team photo. Spahn told the kids in white jerseys and their families, “You’re all part of what we’re doing. This has become part of who we are.”

High school activities. Memories that will last a lifetime. This is who we are. "

Victory Day was started and inspired by Aaron Segedi, a teacher and coach in Trenton, Michigan and serves as a day where students with cognitive and physical disabilities can become part of our football family.  More information about the inception of Victory Day and the genesis of the idea can be found here or by exploring Victory Day's Facebook page embedded on the bottom left.

Video courtsey of Jessica Setness, ISD 318.

Video courtsey of Jessica Setness, ISD 318.

 

2014 Victory Day

Grand Rapid Area Football Association

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