Dec. 6, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The Alabama gymnastics team delayed the start of its practice Friday afternoon to welcome some very important guests to the Frances Smith Practice Facility, hosting its annual Christmas party for the children of the Stallings RISE Center.
"As much as I know the children enjoy the chance to come and run around our gym, bouncing and jumping everywhere, I think it means just as much if not more to our ladies," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "They get to take a moment during one of the busiest and most stressful times of the semester, and they get to interact with these amazing children. Everyone is smiling when the day is over."
Patterson and the Crimson Tide have joined with RISE for a Christmas party for more than 20 years and have hosted the party in the UA practice facility since it opened in 1996. As usual, the gymnasts and RISE students were joined by a very special guest when Santa Claus made his way to Coleman Coliseum and the practice gym.
"For some of these children, the challenges they face are significant," Patterson said. "I think when our ladies see the joy that these children have even in the face of their struggles, it puts things in perspective for them."
The gymnasts start exams next week and will train for a few days after exams are over before heading home for Christmas break. The Tide's 2014 home season gets underway Friday, Jan. 10 against Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri. Season tickets can be purchased online at RollTide.com and through the Alabama Ticket Office (205.348.2262).