Harrison Smith Hosts 'Big & 'Littles' for 2nd annual the Kickin it with Harrison kickball game at the Vikings Winter Park headquarters on Tuesday.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Harrison Smith is still on the mend this week, but he honored his commitment to hosting the second annual "Kickin' it with Harrison" kickball game at the Vikings Winter Park headquarters on Tuesday.
Smith, Andrew Sendejo, Captain Munnerlyn and Vikings cheerleaders Kali and Taylor welcomed more than 20 "bigs" and "littles" from Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities.
The evening brought smiles to young people and those a little older who provide mentorship and friendship for their "little" brothers and sisters. In addition to friendly competition in the fieldhouse, the night included a visit to the Vikings locker room and question-and-answer session.
Smith and Sendejo were limited by knee injuries, but Munnerlyn was quite active, the perfect "little big kid" or "big little kid." He took the mound with zeal and later boomed a kick at the plate.
Smith told reporters his favorite youth game was dodgeball, but thought kickball might be a better option for the bigs and littles when he worked with Brian Hissong, Director of Match Support for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities, to create the event.
Hissong said available spots filled up quickly for a second straight season.
Smith has been active with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities since 2013.
"I think it's good to have a good role model in your life, someone to look up to, someone to learn from and kind of help you grow up a little bit," Smith said. "To me, that's going to be one of the biggest influences you look back on and those are the people that I had in my life growing up, that I was fortunate to be around that kind of helped me along."
Smith has an older brother and older sister, as well as a younger brother in his family.
"I was fortunate to have some positive influences in my life," Smith said. "I always looked up to my older brother, especially, my older sister as well, but my brother was always into sports, was always getting good grades. My younger brother, I felt like I had to be that example for him, so we all helped each other out."
While the kickball part of the event is fun, the players enjoyed the opportunity to share stories with the guests.
"It's always fun to do things like this with the kids," Sendejo said. "You'll always have at least one funny story at the end of the day. It's good to give back and be involved in the community."