FSU football held its first annual Lift for Life workout this afternoon within the confines of the Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility on the campus of Florida State University. The event was organized by Seminole tight end Kevin Haplea, the founder and president of the FSU chapter of Uplifting Athletes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to utilizing college football programs to raise funds and awareness about rare diseases.
Haplea organized the event to fight Fanconi anemia, the genetic disease that afflicts Ethan Fisher, the youngest son of FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher and his wife, Candi.
The competition, which was open to the public and attended by a good number of ‘Noles fans, pitted FSU’s offense against its defense. Like they do in normal practice, position groups competed against their across-the-ball counterparts (receivers vs. defensive backs, offensive line vs. defensive line, etc.). And although the light-hearted event was all about unifying for a good cause, Florida State’s players showed their competitive natures throughout.
Creatively formatted, the workout featured exclusively nontraditional elements. Players pulled a weighted sled toward themselves and then pushed it a distance in relay-style format. They also ran the width of the field carrying 70, 90, or 100-pound dumbbells (one in each hand). There was also a strength and agility drill in which players had to sprint back and forth with weighted bags.
But that was just the warm-up.
Next up were tractor tires, which the teams flipped down the field (unlike on the field when the reverse is often the case, the DBs protested that the WRs cheated). But why settle for tires– when you can just push an entire vehicle. Enter the vans, which players competed to push across the finish line first.
After everything had wrapped up, the offense was said to be slightly ahead (there wasn’t any formal scoring occurring), which brought it all down to the finale: the best-of-three tug-of-war battle. The offense won the first two bouts rather easily to gain the victory, but even with the final result assured, the proud defense was not content to leave before mustering a win in the last skirmish.
With Fisher meticulously counting to make sure each side had 11 team members, Ronald Darby blended back into his teammates– until the action began. To the delight of the crowd, he then snuck his way onto the rope and helped his fellow defenders scratch out a win.
Fisher spoke glowingly of the effort and comraderie shown by his team after the event:
It’s great to see these guys come out and do things for things that a lot of them don’t know about, but they know it helps other folks and other young kids, and, giving back their time– it speaks volumes of the character of our players.
Kevin [Haplea] has done an unbelievable job of getting this off the ground, and his leadership and direction and big-time organization– to have the organizational skills to pull the things off that he’s been able to, and the money he’s been able to raise, it’s been a tremendous effort by him. He’s a class act, and he always will be.