February 16, 2013 at 5:20 PM
About two dozen Make-A-Wish families got to spend an afternoon with some members of Penn State's football team at the Lasch Building on Saturday as part of THON weekend.
Guided by small groups of different players, Make-A-Wish children and their families were given tours of the football building. They were shown the Nittany Lions renovated weight room, the players' lounge and the study area, and some children were able to try on some of the players' helmets and shoulder pads in the locker room.
Coach Bill O'Brien was also on hand to address the families in the locker room at the end of their tours.
"It makes me better as a person, to experience new people, to see the problems they go through," rising junior Adrian Amos said of his experience. "I think my little problems at home are problems, but their problems -- I can't imagine how much they go through. I'm just blessed to have my health and help make them smile."
Amos noted that participation in Saturday's event wasn't mandatory, but the cornerback said it was the highest player turnout he's seen in his time at Penn State. Tight end Kyle Carter said he knew it wasn't an opportunity he wanted to pass up.
"I just love kids for one, and I love giving back. It's just something that my mom preached to me as I was growing up," Carter said.
But the football team isn't done with the Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon yet. Many players said they planned on heading to the Bryce Jordan Center for athlete hour Saturday, and the team's freshmen are set to perform a dance on stage.
Running back Zach Zwinak remembers having to dance at THON a few years ago. The 1,000-yard rusher joked that he was more nervous for his dance routine than he is carrying the football in front of a packed crowd at Beaver Stadium.
"It's so different when everyone is looking at you and you're looking at them," Zwinak said. "On a football field you tune everybody out. But I can't wait to see the routine tonight; it's going to be interesting to see what they'll do… We aren't going to let them forget it."