BATON ROUGE - The 2012-13 LSU men's basketball team continued one of the program's long-standing traditions on Wednesday when they visited the children's ward of Our Lady of the Lake Hospital.
Children of all ages received presents and heard Christmas carols from the players and Coach Johnny Jones, signing basketball and posters for the children and their parents as the Tigers tried to bring a little of the holiday season.
The Tigers worked their renditions of "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and with each room appearance, the group seemed to ad-lib and adapt the song to their vocal styling.
In regard to the team's version of jingle bells with a rap beat, junior Jalen Courtney said, "It's something we started working on a couple of years ago, and it always gets a good reaction. I'm trying to get Coach Jones to join in. Maybe he could do a solo or something."
"I can't sing to save my life, but my teammates and I just wanted to make those kids smile, and if it takes us making a fool out of ourselves, that's what we're going to do," said Charles Carmouche of his first OLOL visit.
The annual visit will be spotlighted on "Inside LSU Basketball with Johnny Jones" presented by Academy Sports and Outdoors, this coming Sunday night (10:35 p.m. WBRZ in Baton Rouge) on the LSU Sports Television Network). It has turned into a tradition that makes patients smile, but brings a smile and a wave from staff members who look forward to the team's visit each December.
"We got a chance to see some smiles, we got a chance to sing Jingle Bells, and it was a good opportunity for us to get out and interact with the children," junior guard Andre Stringer said of his third visit to the hospital. "These kids battle every day, and for us to come out, I know it's big for them, and it's big for us, too. We feel good about doing things like this."
And, as they go room to room, you see the players begin to understand how important their appearance is to those who are at OLOL at this holiday time.
"It's wonderful, to put a smile on a kid's face during the holiday time just melts my heart," said Carmouche. "I'm not an emotional-type guy, but it's been a great experience (Wednesday)."