"We made a lot of days today," beamed Aaron Segedi, Trenton varsity football assistant coach and "Victory Day" coordinator. If you know Segedi at all, this is far from a boastful statement. He's talking about the volunteers as much as he is the participants.
"Everybody here walks away with a smile on their face," Trojan head coach Bob Czarnecki said.
The most noticeable smiles on Saturday were the ones lighting up the faces of the children.
"The smiles on their faces are the highlight for me," said senior Trenton football player Jeff Jones who was buddies with Tra Gaston for the day. "Big Tra" had one of the more memorable touchdown runs of the day by opting to run at the defenders instead of away from them and pushing them over with a tidal wave of stiff arms.
"I've wanted to score a touchdown my whole life," Tra said.
Trenton sophomore Chase Abraham got to be a mentor for the first time this year and was paired with Adrian Tyler. Adrian's favorite part of the day seemed to be letting Abraham hold a blocking pad up and then running into at fullspeed.
"Seeing them have fun is what I like best about it," said Abraham. "Just knowing that they probably don't get to have fun like this that often. It's cool."
Junior cheerleader Kaitlin Tracy was paired with Brooke McNally at last year's "Victory Day" and developed a unique relationship when Brooke's parents brought her to see Tracy cheer at a lot of the home games. The two were paired again this year.
"It's incredible to get help them experience something like this," Tracy said while she stood next to her young friend who was practicing her touchdown dance for when she got her chance to score. "It's neat to be involved with one kid like I have, too. It was so sweet. Last year she cried when she had to leave me."
Segedi said that this event is all apart of the football program's leadership training as it tries to use a game to make quality young men. This week's theme, appropriate with Saturday's event, was selflessness.
But the Trojans were not the only players Downriver to learn that trait Saturday. Segedi invited coaches from Carlson, Woodhaven, and Wyandotte High Schools to bring some of their players to help out.
One of those players were Carlson star Kyle Ready.
"I noticed the joy they got from a lot of the little things," Ready said referring to things like tackling dummies and standing on the sideline for the national anthem. "I'm definitely going to learn to cherish the moments more."
Segedi said he spent last year running around making sure everything was in order too much and made sure that this year he sat back and simply soaked in the moments. One of those moments was when an autistic eight-year-old boy's mother, with tears in her eyes, approached him. She said her son, Robbie, absolutely loves football and spends most of his days playing football in the yard by himself for hours. Saturday, he played football on field, in a jersey, with fans, with tacklers.
"She told me her son said that this was the best day of his life and thank you," Segedi said with a smile.
Everyone had a smile on their face which is why one of the ugly truths of football did not exist Saturday. It's true in any type of competition--someone always wins, someone always loses.
No one lost in this game. Not on Saturday. Not at "Victory Day".