BOULDER—Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre and his Colorado Buffaloes returned to the practice field today for the first time since disastrous flooding swept through the region last week.
MacIntyre’s team practiced amidst torrential downpours through most of last week but when it became apparent that their Saturday home tilt with Fresno State would have to be postponed, they shifted their focus towards assisting the ravaged community.
“When our administration decided on Friday afternoon to postpone the game one of the things I brought up is that we need to make sure our players get involved in our community,” said MacIntyre. “This is a situation where we don’t need to just go sit down on the couch, we need to go help and our guys did. We had coaches in those neighborhoods digging mud out and helping people that had flooded houses so all of our guys were working this weekend and understood that it was a lot bigger than a football game.”
On Friday, the CU athletic staff came up with the idea to hold a Saturday luncheon for many flood victims, during which they would have an opportunity to share some food and conversation with members of the team. The event was created in an effort to lift the spirits of those victims in the wake of so much devastation.
“[This] has been a huge opportunity for us to give back to the community,” said quarterback Connor Wood. “We need to be more than football players and more than student-athletes. Coach MacIntyre wants us to be great men, responsible men, and selfless men. This is one way that we can learn that lesson.”
MacIntyre has dealt with this type of adversity before. Flooding once ravaged his parent’s home and that life-altering experience played a major part in both his willingness to help his community and his ability to guide his team through one of the most tumultuous periods many of them have ever faced.
“(That past experience) shaped my view completely because if I hadn’t ever had that experience I wouldn’t really know how a lot of people feel right now,” MacIntyre said. “My parents were in a flood up to the stop sign on their street and my brother swam in and rescued them. My dad was in a bed and he has MS (multiple sclerosis). He rescued them and swam them out. He also rescued two other people but there were two other people he could not get to.
“I know how devastating this can be. You can turn the corner and your whole life changes. Because of something like that you have a lot more sympathy. A lot more understanding of what these people are going through and in caring for Boulder.”
In the face of such tragedy, MacIntyre took great pride in the compassion his players exhibited and in the subsequent actions they eagerly undertook in an effort to help.
“I have a lot of pride in my players,” said MacIntyre. “Especially when the chancellor told me we weren’t going to play and one of the young men stepped up and said ‘guys we need to make sure we help in our community and help the people in the dorms and not just go back and sit down on the couch.’ I was very, very proud of him saying that and they did do that. There’s been a lot of pride. It’s fun to watch young men grow up and it was a definite life lesson experience that they are growing up and it’ll be something they remember for the rest of their lives and they’ll also be able to use when this type of situation hits again.”