Faith and Football: Rivalry for a Cause

Though Bethany and Kingfisher are rivals on the football field, that rivalry has turned into something bigger than a game.

Thursday, July 28th 2011, 5:51 pm

By: News On 6

Originally Published: Oct 16, 2010 1:56 AM CDT

Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

BETHANY, Oklahoma – Few things can pit towns against each other for one night the way a high school football rivalry can.

But as Bethany and Kingfisher took the field on a Friday night, that rivalry instead brought them together for a good cause.

The Bronchos beat the Yellowjackets 27-12 on the field in the inaugural The Children’s Center Bowl at Southern Nazarene University, but the most important number came off the playing field.

The two schools, through fundraisers in the weeks leading up to the game, raised $6,500 for The Children’s Center and presented a check to the Center’s CEO Albert Gray at halftime.

The center, located in Bethany, is a non-profit hospital for children with complex medical and physical disabilities.

The teams had a chance to visit the center the evening before the game and attend a pep rally there on game day.

Players such as Kingfisher’s Derek Patterson said visiting the center gives them a new perspective on what it means to have a fighting spirit.

“It’s very nice to know that we are helping out with this Children’s Center to help them with the small steps of life to get back to where they were before,” he said.

The visits from the players and the money raised help support children at the hospital such as Luke Medcalf, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at birth. He has been at The Children’s Center for six months and attends school in Bethany.

Luke’s father died of cancer nearly three years ago, and his mother, Suzy Medcalf, said she can’t put into words how much The Children’s Center has done to help her and her son.

She said calling Luke a big football fan would be “an understatement” and that when Luke got to take the field as an honorary junior captain for Bethany at the game, it meant the world to him.

“It’s what he lives for is to watch football,” she said.

So when two major aspects of his life – the hospital that has changed his life and the game he loves – came together, everybody came out of the inaugural Children’s Center Bowl a winner.

Suzy said the teams could not have picked a better cause to raise money and awareness for.

“Every time I go there, I see the love, I feel the love that all of these people have for Luke,” she said. “It’s amazing. I think those workers at The Children’s Center are the hands and feet of God.”

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