BATON ROUGE - Joseph Addai and Early Doucet may be known as champions on the football field, but last weekend they were champions in the bowling lanes.
The second Champions for Children Bowl-a-Thon was held Saturday at Metro Bowl, featuring bowling with athletes and coaches, live and silent auctions, a live performance of "Tiger in Me/ Purple Gold" by Ian and Geno Von and a special appearance by Mike the Tiger. All of the proceeds from the fundraiser benefited the opening of Heritage Ranch Christian Children's Home.
Heritage Ranch is a non-profit organization with the mission of opening a Christian Children's Home that will serve youth and families that are in the midst of crisis.
In addition to providing educational services and counseling, Vicki Ellis, executive director, thought it would be a treat to host an event where the kids could interact with athletes and "champions." Ellis reached out to Addai, Doucet and other former LSU greats for their involvement in the program. The decision to contribute to the cause was unanimous.
"We all decided it was something good and that it could benefit the youth in the long run," said Doucet. "Growing up you always had guys you looked up to, but to actually be able to interact with those guys on a personal basis makes a big difference."
Joining Addai and Doucet at this year's event were former LSU football players Travis Daniels, Demetrius Byrd, Ali Highsmith, Bennie Brazell and Ronnie Prude. Also present was former LSU basketball star Ricky Blanton, men's basketball head coach Trent Johnson and women's basketball head coach Nikki Caldwell.
Addai, a running back for the Indianapolis Colts and avid bowler, enjoyed the event because it enabled him to help advance the goals of Heritage Ranch and bowl a few strikes in the process.
"I'm enjoying it (the event) more than anything, probably more than the kids are. It's always good to see a child smile," he said. "Being more involved with kids, talking to them and interacting with them can help them see the right way to go about doing something."
Doucet, who plays for the Arizona Cardinals, sees this event as a growing tradition and a key reason to make the trip back to Baton Rouge every year.
"I know not just myself, but all the other guys would be willing to come back every year, just to be involved with this," he said. "I think it will only grow from here."
The Heritage Ranch will open its first home for six boys, ages 13-17, next summer.