AURORA, Colo. - The University of Colorado men's basketball team on Sunday afternoon left its familiar surroundings of practice, getting treatment or participating in study hall. The Buffaloes left their comfort zones to offer comfort elsewhere; they visited the Children's Hospital at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
Members of the team and staff were divided into three groups and escorted by a hospital volunteers and visited 100 children. The team met with children and hospital staff, signing autographs and handing out Buffalo basketball jerseys, most importantly making a lasting impression of not just those at the hospital, but the student-athletes themselves.
In addition, to the team and staff, CU's beloved mascot, Chip, was also there participating in Sunday's activities.
"After Saturday's game we talked about perspective and today brought more so that any basketball game could give any perspective on life and how important our health is to us," CU men's basketball head coach Tad Boyle said. "We ask our players to fight and compete every day in practice and certainly in the games; that kind of fight and competitiveness pales in comparison to what these children and their families go through on a day-to-day basis. It's a great day to have perspective and be blessed for those of us who do have good health and understanding those who don't and fights they go through on a daily basis."
It's the second straight year during the month of December the Buffaloes have reached out to the community. Last year, the team volunteered its time with the non-profit Share-A-Gift program, an organization that helps families of need acquire children's toys for the holidays. Over 600 families were assisted by the men's basketball team by selecting toys, re-stocking shelves, transporting toys to cars, and spending time with children in the on-site day care facility.
Sunday's visit to Aurora is also part of the CU Athletics Leadership Development Program. The program is designed to develop a culture of leadership in which CU student-athletes act with personal responsibility, integrity and accountability while staying committed in both principle and actions to the greater good.
The program is student centered and educationally based, targeting all student-athletes. Through a culture of positive leadership, all student-athletes will inherently contribute to excellence in their academic work, in their athletic pursuits and in their personal lives.
"It was really fantastic; having the kids letting us come in here and brightening their days," said freshman Chris Jenkins. "We made their Christmas and New Year's, and glad we had the chance to hang out with them."
For more information on the CU Athletics Leadership Development Program, please log on to www.cubuffs.com/ldp
The men's basketball team concluded its non-conference schedule with a 10-2 record and opens Pac-12 play this Thursday at No. 3 Arizona (6 p.m., MST, ESPNU) and at Arizona State, Sunday, Jan. 6 (6 p.m., Pac-12 Network). Both games also be heard on 850 KOA with Mark Johnson and Chad Brown.