Christmas Bowl scores toys for Concord children’s hospital

Eleven years ago, the firefighters at Concord Fire Station No. 1 started collecting toys to deliver to Carolinas Medical Center–NorthEast for children hospitalized during Christmas.

Seven years ago, the Concord Police Department joined the effort, and the Christmas Bowl was born.

Charging admission of one new toy per person, the fire and police departments battle for bragging rights and the “Finest vs. Bravest” trophy.

The toys collected will be delivered to the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital at CMC–NorthEast for the children who can’t celebrate Christmas at home.

More than 100 spectators filled a pickup truck bed with toys and endured the cold weather Nov. 15 to watch the two teams play their hearts out.

Each team fielded eight players during the four 15-minute quarters. Substituting fresh players when needed provided ample scoring opportunities on the Concord High School football field.

The game was close through the second quarter, as the Concord Fire Department Bravest scored 6 to the Concord Police Department Guns’ 14.

Several plays later, a Guns player was heard yelling, “You just got scored on by a girl,” after Guns player Lindsey Sai placed the ball over the goal line, and Bravest player R.J. Meyers pulled her flag.

The officials called it a touchdown. Meyers contested the ruling while waving her flag. But as it was a friendly game, everyone laughed and the score was counted.

The Guns went on to dominate the second half, which was punctuated with many long pass plays. The team won the coveted trophy by a score of 70 to 40.

But the real winners of the game will be the young patients who receive the 150 new toys that will be delivered to the children’s hospital on Christmas Eve.