The Shriners

Spent the weekend hunkered down at an undisclosed location in Fargo, riding out the storm/blizzard/winter weather.  Yes, now I know how Cheney feels. Let’s just say some motels are better than others.

I was in Fargo to speak to the Shriners, specifically the El Zagal Shrine Escort Motor Patrol. Turns out they’re the ones who get to have so much fun driving those little cars real fast in the parades. These days it’s a fleet of nine red Mazda Miata convertibles. Before that it was motorcyles. What do you say to a bunch of grown men who spend their summers driving the snot out of Miatas?

What I said to them was how impressed I am with the Shriners Hospital for Children in the cities. I was there some years ago with a busload of high school football players. A few words of explanation.

Each year the North Dakota Shrine Bowl football games are played in either Grand Forks or Fargo. Most of the media attention is on the games and the players, but each year part of the experience for the high school players is to send them on a bus trip to the Shrine Hospital. It let’s them see first hand who they are playing for.

On the year I tagged along it couldn’t have been more impressive to see how these big, burly football players took to the hospitalized kids. Instintively, they played board games with them, pushed them in wheelchairs outside in the hospital courtyard and shared a picnic lunch with them.

Only later did I realize that on this long, 10-hour-plus bus trip from Grand Forks (made longer by an hour or so when the bus driver got lost) I hadn’t heard one word of complaint from the players.
The Shrine Bowl is a wonderful project I hope goes on forever. I hope, too, that the hospital visit is always a part of it.

It takes a lot of circus performances to support the Shrine Hospitals, but they are wonderful places where parents don’t pay a dime for their children’s care. That is nothing short of amazing.

2 Responses

  1. Noble Eddie Aranda

    Thank You for the short blog. Just to hear that it affects more than the children and their family is always a great joy. The fact that the players and theiradults were there made a great day for the kids. I remember taking a family there there was another patient, There was a big crowd around him as he was in his wheelchair. I got closer and what this teenager had done was something that will stick with me forever, especially this teen. What everybody was looking at was a tattoo that he had done on his rt. upper chest. It was the symbol of the shriners. But it also had three dates on there as well. I asked him what they were for and he said that they were the dates of the three major surgeries he haas had so far that changed his life for the positive. These three dates were done at the shriners hospital. To him it was a new life being done, as he told me. That was all I needed to see to say thanks. I know that when I am riding in the little gocarts not only is it for fun but for a good cause. Thank you for this blog and eveybody else who has cared in one way or another.

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