The season for the Cardinals is, let's face it, lousy. There are a lot of things that go into that, and it does wear on players. It matters, just like it does to the fans. It is the job, there is a ton of time that is spent this time of year trying to make it right, and it is these guys' top priority.
But it isn't everything. It isn't all-consuming -- at least, it shouldn't be. That's been proven many times whether it is football or any other line of work. So as bad as the season has been, these little rays of light when players take part in giving holiday surprises to kids is, frankly, awesome to see. Even for those of us not playing but still working within this same cauldron.
Tuesday night I had a chance to be at Patrick Peterson's annual "Shop with a Jock" evening at a Tempe Wal-Mart. Normally, Pat P (and teammates) take these needy kids on a $100 shopping spree. Peterson added $100 to each kid's spree, too. Safe to say they were excited about that. That doesn't even include the trickle-down effect, since many of these kids are looking to get stuff for their siblings -- to the point where it's a "rule" that each kid has to buy at least one thing for themselves. Among the Cards that helped Pat P -- Larry Fitzgerald, Josh Rosen, Corey Peters, Antoine Bethea and Tre Boston.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson and teammates take needy children on a shopping spree at Wal-Mart before Christmas.
Then there was the event last week, when Justin Pugh, the guard on IR with a knee injury, had his own holiday season fun. He teamed with Heart for the City AZ to host 60 needy kids from Camelback Academy at a special screening of the new movie "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." Joined by fellow IR'd lineman John Wetzel, Pugh not only hosted a dinner for the kids with the movie, but also surprised them all with gifts culled from wish lists and there were Spider-Man headphones given to all the kids as well.
Pugh is another guy who has made sure to get deep into the communities in which he plays. Peterson, even with some drama attached to him this season, hasn't wavered on the charitable part of life. And there are other Cardinals more under the radar -- Peters, Bethea, Dennis Gardeck, Charles Kanoff, to name off some more -- that seem to show up to every community event out there.
Again, this doesn't change the fact it has been a poor season for the Cardinals. But it underscores that there are parts of life beyond the standings, even for football players.