Gene Williams - Warchant
The 2017 college football season is still more than a month away, but Florida State center Alec Eberle already is in a competitive state of mind.
He and the rest of the FSU football team are preparing to conduct their fourth Lift for Life fundraising event, with the proceeds going to help the Jimbo Fisher family’s Kidz1stFund, and Eberle doesn’t merely want to meet the team's $5,000 goal. He hopes the Seminoles can make the same type of impact as other schools that are participating in the annual event through Uplifting Athletes.
Penn State, for example, has raised more than $200,000 over the last two years combined. In the 14 years since they started participating in the project, the Nittany Lions have generated nearly $1.2 million.
Nebraska has a goal of $40,000 for its signature event, a road race which is taking place this weekend. The Cornhuskers already have raised more than $31,000 toward that goal.
Eberle, who is leading FSU’s effort along with fellow offensive lineman Josh Ball, said the Seminoles have every reason to believe they could raise similar funds.
“If we can use our platform and our fan base to get this even bigger, I think it could be huge,” Eberle said. “There’s no school like our school, and everyone knows that.”
Eberle, who helped former FSU tight end Kevin Haplea start the FSU chapter of Uplifting Athletes four years ago, sees the potential for progress. During the first year or two of the event, nearly all of the coordination was done by Haplea, Eberle and former FSU placekicker Roberto Aguayo.
Now, Eberle said, there is essentially a “board” of Seminole football players taking an active role. And other players are following that lead.
“We’re getting more and more guys involved,” Eberle said. “All summer, everyone’s like, ‘Alec, when’s Lift for Life this year? When’s Lift for Life this year?’ That’s awesome to me. … It gives us a chance to go out and compete.”
FSU’s Lift for Life event, which is scheduled for this Tuesday, July 18, at 5 p.m., will take place at the Dunlap Indoor Practice Facility. Fans and supporters can make a donation to any one of seven position groups, or simply make a general donation to support the FSU Chapter by visiting give.upliftingathletes.org/fsulift2017.
During the event, the Seminoles will compete in a variety of grueling competitions, such as pushing golf carts (with people inside them) across a football field and flipping massive tires. The highlight is typically the tug-of-war, which features battles between the offensive line vs. defensive line, the receivers vs. defensive backs and so on.
“Everybody just goes at it,” Eberle said. “Coach Fisher gets into it. Guys start talking big trash. It’s definitely the best event of the entire time.”
Uplifting Athletes chapters across the country donate the funds they raise to fight rare diseases. At FSU, the money goes toward combating Fanconi anemia, the blood disease that affects Jimbo Fisher’s youngest son, Ethan.
“Coach Fisher does so much for us as a team that any opportunity we get to give back to them is pretty awesome,” Eberle said.
And at this year's Lift for Life, the Seminoles plan to put on a show.
“I’m the strongest I’ve ever been in my whole life,” said Eberle, who is returning from offseason hip surgery. “I’m bigger than I’ve ever been. Stronger than I’ve ever been. I’m definitely excited to use it this year. ... The guys on the team this year have gotten a lot stronger and a lot faster. It’s pretty impressive. So I think this year is going to be more fun, because we’re going to have everybody competing.”