July 13, 2012
By Katie Jordan
COLUMBIA, S.C. - On Friday, July 13, 2012, members of the South Carolina football team took part in the annual Pigskin Poets event at the Richland County Public Library in downtown Columbia.
The event is part of the library's Summer Reading Program that encourages children to keep their reading skills sharp over the summer so when school starts in the fall they do not have to catch up. The goal of the program is to get people excited about continuing to read in the summer.
"It's one of our most popular programs," Padgett Mozingo, the event's coordinator, said. "In May when kids start signing up for summer reading they already start asking `When is the [South Carolina] football team coming? When is Cocky coming?' It's a huge part of our summer program."
The team entered to 2001 after Cocky got the kids cheering with a playing of Sandstorm. The players met with the kids as Darion McCloud, a member of the library's staff, led a game of "Simon Says" as well as a few songs.
"It's great to be here with the kids," freshman quarterback Brendan Nosovitch, who was participating for the first time, said. "It's very exciting and a great experience to get out into the community and getting to know the fans."
The players read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, Bark George by Jules Feiffer and Yo Yes! by Chris Raschka to the crowd then took pictures and signed autographs for the young fans.
"This is [my son and I's] third year coming to Pigskin Poets," mother and educator Lydia Bailey- Padgett said. I think it's good for [the kids] to see athletes embrace their academics so that the kids know that [the football players] are athletes, but they are students first. I just think it's positive."
With around 300 kids and 25 players in attendance the Pigskin Poets event was a big success for the 15th year in a row.
"The event really allows the freshmen to connect with the community going into their first year as Gamecock student-athletes and allows the kids to get really excited about the upcoming football season." Life Skills and Community Outreach Coordinator Erica Nelson said.
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