Bison entertain Frisco elementary kids with a pep rallyFRISCO, Texas — It wasn’t as noisy as the Fargodome, but 550 elementary kids gave it their best shout when they hosted North Dakota State’s football team for a pep rally Thursday.
By: Kevin Schnepf, Forum Communications Co.
FRISCO, Texas — It wasn’t as noisy as the Fargodome, but 550 elementary kids gave it their best shout when they hosted North Dakota State’s football team for a pep rally Thursday.
“It was pretty loud,” said Marcus Williams, one of 70 Bison players who visited Bright Elementary school for a pep rally meant to inspire them for Saturday’s national championship game against Sam Houston State. “The cheering, all that noise, the enthusiasm. It got me excited.”
This is the second straight year in which Frisco has hosted the Football Championship Subdivision title game. And for the second straight year, Bright Elementary held a pep rally. Last year, the kindergartners through fifth graders cheered Eastern Washington on to a national championship.
The Bison are hoping for the same results. But their visit was more than just football.
“This really sends a positive message to kids about the importance of education,” said Bison head coach Craig Bohl, whose team recorded a 2.78 cumulative grade point average this past semester. “That’s the highest GPA we’ve had in six years. That speaks volumes.”
Bright Elementary was decked out in green and yellow NDSU colors with posters, balloons, paper plate streamers, paper vests and paper headbands with colored drawings of Bison.
“We’re mean, we’re green, we’re the best you’ve ever seen,” the students yelled as the Bison entered the school’s auditorium/cafeteria.
With a microphone in his hand, Bohl led the students through some clapping drills — testing their patience to not clap before he crossed his arms. He also made sure the students pronounced Bison correctly. “It’s not the Bisssson. Nooo. It’s the Bizzzzon.”
But besides all the hoopla, the main message was about education. Bohl had 6-foot-7 tight end Matt Veldman stand up and compare his size 16 foot with the size 17 foot of offensive lineman Jacob Lesar, a mechanical engineering major.
“That doesn’t mean he’s going to drive a train,” Bohl told the kids. “He’s going to build bridges and all that kind of stuff. So stay in school.”
Veldman, a marketing major who recently was honored nationally for his academic success, had the same message.
“We are students first and athletes second,” Veldman said. “What your teachers are telling you is very important. They are willing to help you out.”
The pep rally, in which Bohl gave the school an autographed football, brought back memories for Williams — an All-American cornerback who grew up in the Minneapolis area.
“I remember Gopher players coming to our school,” Williams said, referring to the University of Minnesota. “I was just excited and anxious to hear what they had to say … just like these kids today.”
Schnepf is the sports editor of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.