The 10th Annual Lift for Life will open with new flare this year when it is held from 5 to 7 p.m. next Friday at the Outdoor Lacrosse Facility to benefit the Kidney Cancer Association.
This year, the football team has adopted a new format pitting the offense and defense against each other in seven simultaneous competitions, including tire flip, tug-of-war, obstacle course, sled pull and push, 100-pound sandbag stack and more. All competitions will acclimate the fans to the team's new training regiment under new strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald.
With the new offense versus defense format, fans will now be able to see how the team trains on a regular basis while allowing the new strength staff to fuel players' desire for competition.
"I am really excited to see how everyone gets out there at the same time," said senior tackle Mike Farrell, president of Penn State's Uplifting Athletes chapter. "I am interested to see how [the fans] react to really getting to see how we compete each other."
When coach Bill O'Brien was chosen to replace the late former head coach Joe Paterno as head coach in January, some people asked Farrell whether Lift for Life would continue under the new leadership, Farrell said.
But O'Brien and Fitzgerald quickly extinguished any fears.
"From the minute we met coach O'Brien about it, he has been all for it," Farrell said. "And continuing the tradition that has become of Penn State."
Rather than settle with the status quo, Fitzgerald wanted to improve it, maximizing the fun of the event to the highest level for the fans and the players, Farrell said.
While changes will be showcased at this year's event, one thing that hasn't changed is the overall goal of Lift for Life.
Since 2003, the Penn State Chapter of Uplifting Athletes has raised $600,000 for the Kidney Cancer Association, according to gopsusports.com.
This year, players will look to add to that amount, just with a new twist.