Players and special fans at Opportunity Village bond over the Bowl
Timeouts couldn’t possibly be more fun than this one. And no one cared how many minutes were left on the clock because time just flew when players from the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl visited Opportunity Village.
Players selected from both of this year’s teams — five from the Arizona State Sun Devils and four from the Fresno State Bulldogs, who will clash during the big game at Sam Boyd Stadium on Dec. 15 — brought holiday cheer to the intellectually challenged clients at the nonprofit organization’s Engelstad campus on Dec. 12. Odds are it was the only place in Las Vegas to hear a rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” reworked as a Christmas anthem called “Don’t Stop Believin’ in Santa Claus.”
During the 90-minute visit that also included team staff — in an atmosphere best described as happy, controlled chaos — players and clients sang and danced together to Christmas ditties. They visited the arts and music rooms. They romped through the playground area where they tossed footballs around. And they simply reveled in each other’s company. All the players were gifted with keychains made by the clients that bore the Las Vegas Bowl logo, and the Fresno players even taught them a special handshake.
The warm and emotional visit was one of several events that mark the runup to the game. On Dec. 13, players will volunteer with the local Goodie Two Shoes Foundation, enjoying fun activities while helping to pick out new shoes for underprivileged children. There will also be activities geared toward women and children in Downtown Summerlin.
Then on Dec. 14, a “kickoff luncheon” hosted by Dignity Health at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel will be followed by a pep rally at the Fremont Street Experience. All the excitement will culminate on Dec. 15 with a pre-game “fan fest” and the game itself — officially, Las Vegas Bowl XXVII — which ABC-TV (KTNV-TV Channel 13) will broadcast beginning at 12:30 p.m.
With two collegiate teams meeting for the first time in 77 years, this year’s Las Vegas Bowl is expected to draw more than 25,000 fans to town, generating $27.4 million for the local economy. Update: See game photos here.
For more information on the Las Vegas Bowl and all its affiliated events, visit https://lvbowl.com/.