Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2017

Washington presence in unique football game

By Bill Gatchel | Jul 31, 2017
Photo by: Bill Gatchel Bryce Sinn represented Washington High School in the 45th Annual Iowa Shrine All Star Football Classic in Cedar Falls Saturday, July 29.

CEDAR FALLS — It was an opportunity to represent Washington in a special way Saturday, July 29, but it wasn’t about the game itself, but for something much different for Bryce Sinn.

He was one of 46 players from high school football teams from across the southern half of Iowa to play against the same number of players from the northern half in the 45th Annual Iowa Shrine All Star Football Classic in the UNI Dome.

The biggest part of the day wasn’t about playing in the game, but seeing all of the kids in the Shriner’s Hospital, he says.

“When they took us around to see them, it was a big standout in my eyes for what reality is.

“That’s what the game is actually about, besides just playing football. It’s a bigger aspect than that.

“It’s about showing the kids a good time and raising money for them.”

The final result of the game ended in the North’s favor, 30-13, but that didn’t matter, Sinn says.

“At the end of the game the coaches addressed us and all the players were wearing smiles. It was a friendly game. We helped each other out.

“We talked to each other while we were playing. Honestly, the winner or loser really didn’t matter. It was all about the kids.”

One addition to having such a big team was having a high school conference rival on the team.

Pat Canby, from Mt. Pleasant was also part of the South team and it was nice to play along with him instead of against him, Sinn says.

“I’ve been friends with him for a while and it’s nice to be on the same side for once and truly show our true colors to each other and be good friends. We got pretty close this week and I enjoyed it.”

Even though the game was played Saturday, the activities leading up to the game happened before.

“It was a busy week, actually,” Sinn says.

“We practiced where we would scrimmage against each other.

“We really didn’t have much down time. We went to bed around 11 every night and was up at 7 the next day.

“We pretty much just practiced and did bonding activities with the team. It was fun, but it was hard.”

Even though everyone on both teams were recent graduates, the selection process didn’t just involve that.

“Your coach had to nominate you,” Sinn says.

“If you followed what the Shrine committee’s rules of being a good player, showing respect and being a humble guy to others, you could be selected to be on the team.”

That means Sinn had the chance to wear his Washington helmet one final time.

“It was nice,” he says. “I thought about it the night before as I was packing.

“I was talking to some guys on the phone and I told them ‘this will be the last time I will be able to wear this Washington helmet.’ I was glad I was able to wear it for this purpose.”

Out of the busy week of activities, there was one thing that Sinn will take away most, achieving a goal.

“Anybody can be a teammate to each other,” he says, “it doesn’t matter where you’re from or how big of a school you are.

“If there is a goal in sight, everybody can be one big family and both the North and South teams were that. We all got along.

“We knew why we were there, trying to help the kids out and I think we achieved that.”

If any future football player were to be recommended to play in the game in the future, Sinn offers some advice.

“I would do everything you can to be selected. It’s a true honor to be selected and at the end of the week, you feel really good about yourself and it’s a real eye-opener.

“Just work all year-round and have a goal in sight and continue playing.”

Both teams helped the Shriners surpass their goal of $100,000.

“I think we helped raise $104,000, maybe more,” Sinn says.

“This was the first time a six-digit figure was raised in a long time.”

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