Toronto Argonauts visit kids at Holland Bloorview
Members of the Toronto Argonauts got a chance to play all kinds of games with children from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab on Friday—including a bit of football.
In what was billed the team’s “biggest community appearance of the year,” all 73 players, practice squad and coaching staff took time out of t heir day to visit kids at the hospital.
Running back James Wilder Jr. played catch with a couple of boys who eagerly greeted players at the front door of the centre.
“We’re just enjoying ourselves with the children” he said. “There’s a lot of children with special needs, a lot of them can’t leave the facility so we thought we’d bring the fun here to them.”
About 200 kids played air hockey, basketball and other games with the Argonauts team. Nick Menecolam, 13, told CTV News Toronto he was trying to get autographs from every single one of them.
“I wanted to get as many signatures as I can,” said the avid football fan, who uses a walker to get around. He wasn’t sure how many autographs he got—and couldn’t read some of the signatures—but he said he was thrilled to meet the team and chat with them.
Among those he met was longtime Argo legend Mike “Pinball” Clemons.
“The important thing is that that we engage with the young people, have fun with them, really coach them up if we can, to achieve their dreams,” said Clemons.
Linebacker Bear Woods, who sports long blond dreadlock, joked that he didn’t get asked the usual question young people ask him.
“Typically, questions concern my hair,” he laughed. “You know - what is that? What do you call that? But that’s the typical thing they ask about. And “how strong are you”!”
To which he replies, “stronger than anyone they know!”
Clemons calls the Holland Bloorview event a highlight of the Argos ‘year. Players split their time between the noisy and busy environment of the rehab centre’s gym and some quieter rooms upstairs.
As for their chances in the Grey Cup this year?
“I’m guessing at 50-50” said Menecola . “Pretty high shot!”
“As long as we got 1 per cent, we’re going to give it everything we got,” added Wilder.