SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Three days before the Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State football players spent an hour free of football.
The Buckeyes gave back by helping out at Alta E Butler Elementary School in Phoenix on Wednesday. They worked with Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona to paint a mural, foursquare courts and paw logos on the sidewalks. Dozens of players took part, including captain and LB Raekwon McMillan, DE Jalyn Holmes and LB Chris Worley.
“I just feel like when you do stuff like this, everybody has a role,” Holmes said. “If you use your role in a positive way and be a good example for somebody, everybody’s going to follow. If you can be something good for people to follow, it’s only going to bring good karma and inner joy to you. I found by giving back that serving others brought happiness inside of me. If you can find that, the world will be a better place.
“It’s about giving back and showing compassion for others. I don’t know anybody out here, but just to be able to show my love for them and make their day makes my day.”
Giving back has been a staple of the Ohio State football program for decades. In his 1986 commencement address at Ohio State, legendary coach Woody Hayes outlined his “pay it forward” philosophy.
“I would like to start with something I have used in almost every speech, and this is, ‘paying forward,’ Hayes said. “And that is the thing that you folks can do with your great education for the rest of your life.
“Try to take that attitude toward life, that you’re going to pay forward. So seldom can we pay back because those who helped most — your parents and other people — will be gone, but you’ll find that you do want to pay. Emerson had something to say about that: ‘You can pay back only seldom.’ But he said, ‘You can always pay forward, and you must pay line for line, deed for deed, and cent for cent.'”
The Buckeyes will have plenty more time to worry about their College Football Playoff matchup against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night. For an hour on Wednesday, however, all focus was on helping others.
“It means the world,” Worley said. “There’s nothing like giving back. I love it. I hope I put a smile on a few people’s faces.”
The Buckeyes took some time out after practice to help with a local school project.
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) December 29, 2016