By Juliana Kedzior Kaminski
It was all fun and games on Thursday as Ryerson University and University of Toronto (U of T) students battled it out in a charity flag football game, raising $300 for The Hospital for Sick Children.
The teams faced off at Regent Park, with U of T taking the win 32-12.
“It wasn’t the best performance from us. In practice we ran all the plays a lot smoother,” said Ryerson captain Adnan Saffie, one of the game’s organizers.
But in the end, the score didn’t really matter: The game was meant for the two groups to come together to raise money for SickKids.
Plans to rebuild the hospital involve brand new patient rooms and units. The oldest part of the hospital was built in the 1940s, which complicates efforts to give patients access to new technologies they need, according to the SickKids website. By 2022, the hospital hopes to raise at least $1.3 billion dollars to make the upgrades.
Saffie said the football game was a simple way to bring attention to the cause, because “it’s football season, and everyone likes football.”
To aid in the campaign, both university teams held bake sales, and the entrance donation to attend Thursday’s game was $2.
Marzia Abdulla, a second-year Ryerson business management student and one of the event’s organizers, said she and her sister hatched the idea to hold the interschool game.
“From frosh to now, we’ve been organizing and trying to figure out all the logistics of it. We held tryouts for a month and a bit. We got the team together and organized [the event],” she said.
But on such a cold, chilly day, there weren’t many people cheering the teams on.
“Honestly, I was trying to get at least a group of 50 people here. People said they were going to come but obviously it’s cold, people came and people left,” she said.
The players were expecting a huge crowd but were left disappointed when few people showed up. But that didn’t stop Ryerson from playing a game they love, even if it did end in a loss.
“I don’t like losing,” said Matthew Sloan, a first-year history student who played for Ryerson. “At the end of the day it was still fun and the football game really comes second to the cause.”
For one U of T student who played Thursday, the game had a deeper meaning.
“I was [at SickKids] when I was a kid and they treated me really well,” said Coleman McNevin, a second-year commerce student. “Because of that I am where I am today. Without that I might not be here right now.”
Saffie said the team is happy with the amount of money they earned for SickKids, adding that the team is planning to hold another game next semester.