When Toledo’s football team needed a helping hand, an in-state rival answered the call.
Over the weekend, Northeastern Ohio faced a significant water crisis when it was discovered that raised levels of a toxic chemical likely from algae in Lake Erie had contaminated the area’s water supply. This was a major problem as the Rockets approached the start of preseason camp Sunday, until long-time rival Bowling Green offered to help.
According to Sporting News, Toledo director of sports medicine Brian Jones called BGSU’s Alfred Castillo, who holds the same position as Jones, to ask if some staff members could make the 20-minute trip south to fill up some water jugs.
“We said ‘come on down,’” Castillo said. “I know that it’s a tense rivalry, but in my area, we try to take care of the other team as best as possible. Rivalry aside, they needed something. They’d do the same for us.”
The Rockets were able to retrieve all the water they could fit into their vans (“probably 500 gallons” worth) and head back to campus. Jones said both sides realized it’s important to put the on-field rivalry aside and to place the focus on the health of the student-athletes.
“There probably are some rivalries out there that would not do that. If that’s the case, in my world, that’s a damn shame,” Jones said. “People are all, ‘I hate BG,’ and ‘I hate Toledo.’ I’m used to it by now. My issue is this – when it comes down to it, we need to protect the health and safety of these athletes.”
As of Monday morning, water in the Toledo area has been declared safe by the World Health Organization, so Toledo will be able to provide its players with water moving forward.
And if you think the assist from Bowling Green has softened the rivalry in any way, you are mistaken.
“We take care of each other, but yeah, when the ball goes up in the air in November, I want to whoop them,” Jones said.
Toledo has won the last four contests between the two schools, including last season’s 28-25 road win. In 2014, the two teams will square off on Wednesday, November 19.
Toledo is coming off a 7-5 season. Bowling Green, despite the loss to the Rockets, finished 10-4 and beat Northern Illinois to win the MAC title.
For more Toledo news, visit TheRocketNation.com.
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