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FAYETTEVILLE, NC – Friday night when Cape Fear and Terry Sanford clash on the football field, the Colts and the Bulldogs will be rivals, but on Saturday morning the two teams will join forces to help kick off the Fayetteville Cumberland Parks and Recreation (FCPR) "Buddy Flag Football" season.
Saturday is opening day for FCPR's 2016 Buddy Flag Football season which provides children with disabilities the chance to learn the basics of football, promotes skill development, cooperation and the making of new friends. The program utilizes the "buddy system" which pairs children with physical and mental disabilities with a buddy from a group of volunteers. All players get a buddy to help them throw, catch, run and make plays on the field.
Jeremy Mincey, Athletic Program Coordinator with FCPR, helps to organize the league each year and reached out to Cape Fear to invite the football team this year. Mincey said, "After speaking to (Cape Fear) Athletic Director Matthew McLean, the idea developed to include Terry Sanford in the event as they would be their opponent the evening prior to our Buddy Football opening day." Mincey added, "Even though they were competing on Friday night, this opportunity would allow them to reach out to their community as one unified group."
Cape Fear Athletic Director Matthew McLean said, "Friday night football is very important part of the culture of our state; by bringing our students out on Saturday to work with children with disabilties it will hopefully brighten some child's day while helping our coaches and players keep some things in perspective about the game they love."
"We talk about sportsmanship as being able to win with humility and lose with dignity, well this is a chance for our coaches, players and school administrators to live that out." McLean added, "While we are rivals on the field and court, we have the same goal, educating our student-athletes. I thought it would be a great message for our students and our fans to see that while we compete tooth and nail on the field, we can work together for good off the field and in our community."
Cape Fear and Terry Sanford are not the only two teams to participate in the Buddy Football season this year, South View and Gray's Creek will be assisting with additional games later this season. In the Buddy Football Program's five-year history, Gray's Creek and Douglas Byrd have both assisted as buddies. Opening day kicks off at 10:00 a.m. at Fayetteville's Massey Hill Recreation Center on Camden Road.