ELON, N.C. – Over 130 Elon student-athletes and more than 50 youth from the Burlington area took over the Elon campus and participated in the fifth annual Phoenix Field Day on Saturday, May 5. The annual event, hosted by the Elon Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), was planned for several months by its members, spearheaded senior football player Blake Thompson.
“There was nothing better than seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces this weekend and the pure enjoyment they had,” Thompson said. “It was great to see players from every sport out there giving back to the community and having a blast doing so. We were equally as excited to have the chance to hang out and have a great time with all the kids that participated.”
An obstacle course consisting of hitting bags (backed by football players), running ladders and pop-up bags was set up for all participants. The kids and counselors alike had to complete the obstacle course while wearing a football helmet.
Student-athletes from every Elon sports team had the chance to run drills for their respective sport, including soccer, baseball, tennis, track and volleyball.
“My favorite part was definitely watching the kids trying to tackle the pop-up dummies in the football drills,” said SAAC President and senior football player Dale Riley. “They were a little scared of them at first, but once they did it we couldn’t keep them off of them.”
Women’s basketball junior forward Kelsey Evans participated in Phoenix Field Day for the third straight year this weekend.
“Phoenix Field Day is by far my favorite event that I am a part of here at Elon,” Evans said. “It’s a great day for the kids and an equally great day for the counselors. Throwing water balloons around and running through the different obstacle courses was so much fun and it was such a rewarding experience for me personally to see the excitement from all the kids that came out.”
After taking the kids over to East Field to watch the Phoenix softball team in action, the student-athletes had the chance mimic their favorite professional athletes and treat the participants to an autograph session.
“The autograph session was so humbling and a blessing for us all,” Riley added. “To have little kids come up and ask for your autograph was such an awesome experience. ”
Like Riley and Evans, Thompson is already looking forward to next year’s event.
“It was a great day overall and we can’t wait to have even more kids come out next year,” Thompson said. “Everybody played a huge part in the success of Phoenix Field Day this year and there’s nothing more gratifying than being able to give back in this way.”