The defending champion Baltimore Blast took a different approach to practice Tuesday.
“My wife picked this (outfit) out,” said forward Vini Dantas. “She bought it a few days ago.”
No, they didn't roll out of bed late and hurry to work. The Blast players teamed up with the Casey Cares Foundation and decked out in their pajamas at practice, to raise awareness for the non-profit’s program that provides new pairs of pj’s to critically ill kids.
“As players we would love to always be helping out with things but we sometimes don’t know how,” said Dantas. “It’s great that this opportunity comes along where we can just be silly a little bit.”
“These guys are amazing,” said Casey Cares founder Casey Baynes. “To come out here and see them go all-out in their PJ’s is off the charts.”
Tuesday’s practice kicks off the team’s pajama drive. Some of the Casey Cares kids took part in a portion of the workout.
“Anything we can do for Casey Cares and to help these kids out in any way, shape or form, we’re honored to do,” said head coach Danny Kelly. “I think it’s as rewarding for us as hopefully it is to them.”
And the big hit this morning was Mr. Lion King slippers himself, forward Andrew Hoxie.
“I’ve had these (lion slippers) for five years. I got them for Christmas and my toes have never been warmer,” said the mustached Hoxie. “My upper lip and my toes stay warm through all the winter.”
“He’s probably got a better touch with his lion slippers than he does with his actual soccer shoes,” said Kelly. “That’s Hoxie for ya. He’s a special guy and I would expect nothing less from him on a day like today.”
The Blast will be taking pajama donations from their fans on Dec. 10 when they host the Florida Tropics at Royal Farms Arena.
More on the Casey Cares Foundation:
Casey Cares has provided tens of thousands of new pairs of pajamas to critically ill children who are being treated at more than 100 hospitals throughout the country.
Providing pajamas for critically ill kids is just one of the many programs Casey Cares provides throughout the year. In 2015, we provided 1 activity every 56 minutes and since 2000, have engaged 90,000 program participants – taking families to sporting events, concerts and tourist attractions in addition to providing much-needed support.
The Casey Cares Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides personalized, uplifting programs throughout the year for critically ill children and family members throughout six states and Washington, D.C.. Founded in 2000, the organization began serving just a handful of families and this year will provide activities for nearly 800 kids and their families.