Tuesday, December 26th the Mountaineers play in their season-finale bowl game at the Cotton Bowl Stadium, taking on the Utah Utes. For the majority of the football program the bowl schedule throws a slight wrench in the holiday season and their plans with family, making the football team spend Christmas with their football family.
The football team arrived in Texas several days ago with the plans to prepare for the bowl game just as they would with a regular season game at home. The difference with this week is that it’s the week before Christmas and being a bowl game, the team is able to take on local activities and experiences outside a regular game week.
The team has participated in events to give back to the local community, helped the Dallas Fire Department in installing smoke detectors and enjoyed a night out at Top Golf with their teammates.
This also means that the players and coaches will have to look to one another as their family for the Christmas holiday. Usually, the players are able to go home for at least a few days before the bowl game, squeezing in time with family and loved ones before embarking on the business trip of the bowl game.
For this game, the business trip is full of a core of brothers who take care of, protect and defend each other on the football field. Now they will look to each other to take care of and love on Christmas when the team is normally with their family. Football is a sport of togetherness, unity and working as a whole. One could say that is a good description of family being together during the holidays.
You hear the players throughout the season say one another is their brother, they are family. Coming together to celebrate the holidays and Christmas before going on to their last game of the season. The last time these seniors will put on the Old Gold and Blue. When one spends the holidays with their family they strive for time together, finding the perfect gift and looking at their loved one’s joy in opening that present.
The younger Mountaineers will look to give the seniors the ultimate present and thank you on Tuesday, one more victory in the Old Gold and Blue. A reminder for all of the hard work and sacrifices these players and coaches put in to play in front of a national stage, but most importantly for those fans in West Virginia, who are just so thankful for the gift of Mountaineer football during the holidays.