SOUTH CURVE — Marcus Freeman was out of bounds.
When Notre Dame’s football head coach caught a pass during an impromptu flag football game at the OC Carmichael Jr. Youth Center in South Bend on Monday, a few local kids made sure he knew his touchdown take shouldn’t have counted.
Freeman, dozens of Notre Dame football players and many other university athletes and coaches spent two hours with the St. Joseph County Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Monday as part of a June 19 celebration.
football quarterback Tyler Bucher played basketball, male basketball goalie Danish Goodwin played wrestling and women’s basketball guard Dara Mabrey was kicking a ball with some of the children present. When some Irish soccer players were helping kids dunk with a lift on a shorter hoop, the queue started to get longer.
A child approached the women’s basketball head coach Niele Ivey and instead of asking for Ivey’s autograph, gave Ivey his own autograph. Hundreds of children played games, ate candy and chatted with Notre Dame student-athletes at the local celebration.
Freeman said Inside ND Sports why it was important for him and his players to spend time at the youth center on Monday: “Firstly, it is to celebrate Juneteenth, which is such an important holiday for America but obviously for black people. Then, be part of the community. For our players, staff and other student-athletes here, being part of the community is so important. »
The event began after a handful of people spoke about the importance of celebrating Juneteenth, the June 19 holiday that commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Speakers included Freeman, Associate Athletic Director of Our Lady of Culture and Engagement JP Abercrombiehead of the diversity and inclusion program at Notre Dame Eve KellyCEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County Jacqueline Cronk and the Mayor of South Bend James Muller.
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