Football coach cancels practice and asks players to shovel driveways of elderly, disabled neighbors

While most extracurricular activities at schools across Bethel, Pennsylvania, were canceled earlier this week due to a severe winter blizzard, the high school soccer coach saw it as an opportunity for his players to practice and give back.

On January 16, the Bethel High School football team was scheduled to practice weightlifting. But due to bad weather, the school’s football coach, Brian Dillallo, decided to postpone it.

Instead, he instructed the athletes to do something else – shovel snow from the driveways of their neighbors in need.

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He wrote in a tweet: “Due to expected inclement weather, Monday’s weightlifting exercise has been cancelled. Find an elderly or disabled neighbor and shovel his driveway. Don’t accept any money – this is our Monday training.”

In an interview with Fox News, DeLallo noted that extracurricular activity is something his predecessor, former head coach Jeff Metheny, started as a tradition 20 years ago.

“Jeff was always making our kids do that. Anytime we had a snow day and school was cancelled, he would go out and shovel the driveways for people in the community who are old, have disabilities or are unable to shovel their own lanes.”

Tweet from Bethel High School football coach, Brian DeLallo
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“This is something we’ve been doing for a long time. Definitely not my idea,” DeLallo, who credited Metheny with the idea in a Twitter tweet, said I learned it from Jeff and just implemented the tradition.

Some of the students wore their winter hats, boots and gloves to protect themselves from the freezing temperatures, while others endured the mid-20s with only gym shorts and sneakers.

David Shelpman, 16, and Aidan Campbell, 17, both Bethel Park High School football players, were among 40 athletes who responded to the call.

Campbell cleared four lanes with Shelpman, who made two more lanes on his own. Shelpman said he drifted for seven hours, while Campbell worked about five.

Shelpman made more than clear snow out of his neighbors’ driveways that day. After the exhausting and exhausting assignment, he and his mother volunteered a pasta dinner for homeless veterans.

A football player in Bethel Park shovels snow from a neighbor's driveway
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“It was a fun way to spend the day. We kept going until we finished building six homes. We even skipped lunch. It made me feel like I was part of something bigger than me,” he told The Washington Post.

The 40 players involved in the extracurricular activity included some 8th graders, and the group ended up bulldozing over 100 homes across the municipality. They even went out on Tuesday afternoon to clear more sidewalks.

“It’s really an honor to be able to hang out with your friends and have fun while at the same time making a huge difference to someone who wants to scrape their driveway but can’t for whatever reason,” Campbell said.

DeLallo said that having the students shovel the trails also allows them to connect with the community, which is a big part of why they encourage it.

Football players in Bethel Park shovel snow from a neighbor's driveway
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“This was a good way to kind of get them face to face with their neighbors, and do something that gives back to the community that supports our program,” said the coach. “It’s really nice to be able to do that.”

Robert Klein, one of the happy residents who enjoyed a clean lane, praised the athletes for their efforts.

I have lived in Bethel Park for over 40 years. And acts of kindness like this are exactly why I stayed for as long as I did, and why I would never leave.” “These guys have no idea how important something like this is to me and it makes me so proud to live here.”

This tradition of kindness not only benefits society – it inspires teamwork and helps these young athletes become better individuals. Kudos to all involved!

Click on the video to learn more about players’ extracurricular activity in the midst of a snowstorm.

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