Tailgate party at Oak Park
By Shavonne Potts
At Oak Park Retirement, bears and Indians dined at the facility for a tailgate bash.
The Blue Bears from Livingstone College and the Indians from Catawba College were invited Tuesday for hamburgers and hot dogs at the month-old Salisbury retirement community. The group also had all the fixings including slaw and chili, also chips, cookies and other desserts.
“We wanted to celebrate these two great schools in our community,” said Manager Rick Eastham.
The coaches and football teams from both schools, along with Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz, city councilmen Mark Lewis and Paul Woodson, the college’s presidents ó Dr. Craig Turner from Catawba and Dr. Jimmy Jenkins of Livingstone ówere present at the party.
Livingstone and Catawba just played in the annual football game against each other.
“It shows that we can leave it on the field,” said T.J. Michel, a Catawba player.
“It’s a friendship. We are from the same city and were able to come together,” said football player Alex Hartsell.
Michel and Hartsell along with teammate Marquell Redd all said the facility was really nice.
“I think it’s something that brings the community together. It shows both teams have a character,” said Dorian Edwards, a Livingstone player.
“It’s a good experience, working together in the community,” said Livingstone footballer Alkeem Deloatch.
Defensive line coach Myqual Spann of Livingstone said he thought the lunch was something that helped out both institutions.
“On the field the players have one common goal and that is to win, but outside of that it’s nice to know our players are able to set that aside for an important cause,” Spann said.
The Livingstone College coaches appreciated the Oak Park Retirement staff’s hospitality.
“It’s an opportunity for the players to get away and see a different part of Salisbury,” said defensive line coach Corey McCloud.
McCloud’s grandfather lives in a retirement community in Fayetteville and he really wanted to be in Salisbury facility just to spend time there.
Interim head coach Eric Brown called the lunch a morale booster.
“It’s a great opportunity for the young people to interact,” Brown said.
Catawba College head coach Chip Hester said the event was a perfect day, with perfect weather and a beautiful facility.
“It was very thoughtful for Oak Park Retirement to consider us. They are trying to promote community just as we are with our young men,” Hester said.
He said the tailgate party was a lot of fun.
Hester said he has good friends at Livingstone and any moment they can get together for something positive, it’s a good thing.
He said both colleges are instilling in their players similar lessons.
“We talk a lot about being a part of something bigger than yourself. We encourage them to give back to the community. There are real similarities in what we are trying to get accomplish,” Hester said.
Cheerwine donated the drinks for the event.
The retirement community is located at 2250 Enon Church Road.