Rookies Find Inspiration Off the Field

Posted Jun 26, 2012

By: Kelsey Vaughan

To kick off their Rookie Week, the St. Louis Rams rookies traded in their football cleats for bowling shoes and joined forces with the local non-profit organization, Team Activities for Special Kids (TASK), ­­­­­­­for a night full of bowling and fun.

Each member of the rookie class took to a lane and competed in a few friendly games of bowling with the children and supporters of TASK.  However, even though the rookies may be professionals in one sport, the skill does not always transfer to another.

“I’m losing to a 3-year-old, an 11-year-old, and a 6-year-old,” said rookie defensive tackle, Michael Brockers.

Yet, he did not let his usual competitive spirit get in the way of the cause.

“It’s wonderful to see these kids succeed and people clapping them on, and you see their smiles on their faces,” said Brockers.  “It’s inspirational.”

Inspiration was a mutual feeling among both the rookies and the TASK community.

“It’s really awesome and really tremendous the impact that these players have on our kids,” said Paul Berra, TASK president.  “TASK is really dedicated to building kids’ confidence and self-esteem through athletics and getting to bowl side-by-side with 6’6” giant guys is just priceless.”

Serving as an intermission to the night, four members of the rookie class were pitted against four TASK bowlers in a “Super Bowl” bowl-off.  With crowds cheering from side to side, the atmosphere was full of excitement and camaraderie.  Both the players and the members of the community gathered tightly around the two middle lanes, which were adorned with TASK and St. Louis Rams decorations, in hopes of getting a better look at the friendly match. 

TASK mom, Chris Waldrop, was one of the spectators of the Super Bowl as her son, Nick, 12, was competing.

“He’s in awe with all the players and all the excitement going on,” she said.  “He loves all the players and watches them on TV so to get to see them in person is fabulous.  To just have them interact with him helps him have greater social skills.  [TASK] is our family and to be able to share that with the Rams has just been fantastic.”

Running back Isaiah Pead, who has a cousin with special needs, enjoyed the opportunity to participate and meet the kids from TASK.

“Watching the bowlers’ reactions and seeing their smiles humbles you,” he stated.  “You can’t really explain the feeling.”

Not only did this bowling outing allow the rookie class to mingle with the St. Louis community, but it also enabled them to strengthen their camaraderie, an important aspect for any team.

“This just adds to our brotherhood,” said Pead.  “Going out in the community and doing things like this, we’re doing things together.  It’s continuous bonding.”

The night, full of bonding and bowling, concluded with a raffle of items such as a custom Rams bowling ball and an authentic Sam Bradford autographed ball.  Afterwards, the rookies wrapped up signing autographs and taking photos and boarded the bus that took them back together.  They left the bowling alley with a sense of unity. 

“[The TASK bowlers] feel like we’re putting joy in them, but they’re putting the joy in us,” said Pead. 

Team Activities for Special Kids (TASK) is a St. Louis-based, non-profit, whose mission is to enrich the lives of kids with special needs by providing athletic and social opportunities.  For more information on TASK, please visit