Bowl week for the Northern Illinois University football team is all but over. All that's left is to play the game.
The Huskies began their day with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast. After breakfast, eight NIU football players; quarterback Chandler Harnish, wide receiver Landon Cox, running back Ricky Crider, defensive end Jake Coffman, safety Mike Sobol, linebacker Alex Kube, offensive tackle Trevor Olson and tight end Jason Schepler visited St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Boise.
The eight student-athletes who comprise NIU's Bowl Leadership Council, went around the hospital visiting with patients young and old. It was impressive watching these young men enter the hospital rooms of complete strangers and listening to the patients tell their stories was impressive to see. I followed Kube, Sobol, Cox and Crider as they visited patients in the Neuro wing and those rehabbing from serious trauma.
Each patient was happy to receive them and talk to the players about football, the upcoming game, where they were from and how great the people of Boise have been to Northern Illinois during their stay. The Huskies came across a high school football player that was overjoyed to meet the quartet. In keeping with the Christmas spirit, not only did the players visit with the patients, but they handed out gifts of t-shirts, hats and water bottles.
Harnish, Coffman, Schepler and Olson visited the pediatric wing and patients being treated for cancer. The group made one visit to a mother and her day-old paper. When she asked if any of the players wanted to hold her child, Chandler stepped up and held the infant gently in his arms.
The Huskies visit to St. Alphonsus was the final event they would participate in. They hit the Blue Turf at Bronco Stadium for their final walk-thru before tomorrow's game with Fresno State.
Just a final closing thought on our week in Boise. To a man, every Huskie player has raved about their week here for the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl. Like the players every member of the travel party has had the same sentiment. The people of Boise have opened their arms and embraced the Huskies. It will be a trip we will never forget.