Nate Waggenspack: Cross-country ride shows inspiring side of sports

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On Thursday a group of young men rode through Craig. They looked a little tired, a little ragged and more ready for a nap than anything else.

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Nate Waggenspack

But the fraternity brothers from Pi Kappa Phi riding across the country on the Journey for Hope didn’t have time for a nap just yet. They didn’t even have time to change out of their cycling uniforms, which aren’t the most comfortable thing in clothing today (there’s a reason we aren’t all wearing biking gear every day).

After arriving at the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Colorado yesterday afternoon, they were able to change out of their cycling shoes before putting on a puppet shoe for the children. When the puppet show was done, there was a little time to unwind and have fun with the kids at the Boys & Girls Club before they were off to Horizons for a dinner. There they visited with some disabled people in the area, brightening their days with a little camaraderie.

Finally, after all that, there was some time to relax and sleep. But Friday morning they were on the road again shortly after 6 a.m., headed for Steamboat.

So it will go for the next month and a half for those guys, ride, serve, sleep for a bit, ride again. They aren’t close to being the only people trekking across the United States this summer. Many other groups are riding or will ride later. Some people are running and others are walking, usually in support of a charity, and always garnering tons of support along the way.

This ability to inspire is one of my favorite things about sports. While we watch the major college and professional sports on TV and often complain about how much money factors into those leagues, there is an entirely different set of amazing feats being achieved by much more normal people every year.

Those frat brothers weren’t cyclists before they started the Journey of Hope. But they wanted to do the trip, something they figured would be fun, offer perspective and a chance to see the country in a unique way.

So a year ago, they started riding more often and began raising money as well. Each member of the Journey for Hope team had to pull together at least $5,500 in order to participate in the ride. Nearly 100 riders did that, and many of them went well beyond the minimum number.

That’s over half a million dollars, most of which will go toward disabled people, because some people just decided they wanted to give it a try. Their efforts inspired others to get involved through the form of donations. This is when sports are about money in a very different way, and it never gets old.

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports .

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