While most extracurricular activities at schools across Bethel, Pennsylvania, were canceled earlier this week due to a severe winter snowstorm, a high school football coach saw it as an opportunity for his players to work out—and give back.
On January 16, the football team at Bethel High School was scheduled to have weight lifting practice. But because of the bad weather, the school’s head football coach, Brian DeLallo, decided to postpone it.
Instead, he instructed the athletes to do something else—shovel snow off the driveways of their neighbors in need.
In a tweet, he wrote: “Due to expected severe weather, Monday’s weightlifting workout has been canceled. Find an elderly or disabled neighbor and shovel their driveway. Don’t accept any money – that’s our Monday workout.”
In an interview with Fox News, DeLallo noted that the extracurricular activity is something that his predecessor, former head coach Jeff Metheny, started as a tradition 20 years ago.
“Jeff had always had our kids do this. Any time we had a snow day and school was canceled, he had the kids go out and shovel driveways for people in the community who were elderly or who were disabled or otherwise could not shovel their own driveways.”
“So this is something we’ve been doing for a long time. Definitely not my idea. I learned it from Jeff and we’ve just carried on this tradition,” said DeLallo, who credited Metheny for the idea in a tweet.
Some students donned their winter hats, boots, and gloves to protect themselves from the freezing temperatures, while others endured the mid-20 degree weather wearing only gym shorts and sneakers.
David Shelpman, 16, and Aidan Campbell, 17, both Bethel Park High School football players, were among the 40 athletes who answered the call.
Campbell cleared out four driveways with Shelpman, who did another two driveways on his own. Shelpman said he shoveled for about seven hours, while Campbell worked for around five.
Shelpman did more than clear snow from his neighbors’ driveways that day. After the tiresome yet fulfilling task, he and his mom volunteered at a spaghetti dinner for homeless veterans.
“It was a fun way to spend the day. We just kept going until we’d done six houses. We even skipped out on having lunch. It made me feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself,” he told The Washington Post.
The 40 players who participated in the extracurricular activity included some eighth-graders, and the group ended up shoveling out more than 100 homes throughout the municipality. They even got back out Tuesday afternoon to clear off some more sidewalks.
“It’s genuinely a privilege to be able to hang out with your friends and have fun while at the same time making a big difference to someone who would love to shovel their driveway but can’t for whatever reason,” said Campbell.
DeLallo said that having the students shoveling the driveways also allows them to connect with the community, which is a big part of why they encourage it.
“This was a good way to kind of get them face to face with their neighbors, doing something that gives back to a community that is so supportive of our program,” the coach said. “It’s really nice to be able to do that.”
Robert Klein, one of the happy residents who enjoyed a clean driveway, praised the athletes for their efforts.
“I have lived in Bethel Park for more than 40 years now. And acts of kindness like this are exactly why I have stayed for as long as I have, and why I will never leave,” he said. “These young men have no idea how much something like this means to me and it makes me so proud to live here.”
This tradition of kindness not only benefits the community—it also inspires teamwork and helps these young athletes become better individuals. Kudos to everyone involved!
Click on the video to learn more about the extracurricular activity of the players amid the snowstorm.
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