By Teresa Varley
Steelers players brought smiles to the faces of kids who attended Muscle Team, an event held at Heinz Field that benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Players are teamed with an MDA Goodwill Ambassador, who is a local child living with the neuromuscular disease, for an evening of fun and games.
Steelers players who took part included James Harrison, Tony Hills, Jason Capizzi, Roy Lewis and Justin Vincent, along with Steely McBeam and members of the Pitt football team and Pittsburgh Passion football team.
"I had a great time just seeing the smiles on their faces," said Hills, who was teamed with Ian. "The games they had set up were wonderful. We had a great time. Ian beat me in every game that we played. He didn't tell until we were leaving that he had played those games a few times before.
"He is a great kid. He had a great personality. We got to learn about one another and had a lot of fun."
Guests in attendance also had the chance to mingle with the athletes and then bid on some unique auction items. One of the highlights of the live auction was when Harrison personally signed a Steelers office chair for the highest bidder.
But the main focus was the kids.
"You get to see how good these kids are," said Capizzi, who was paired with Billy. "It's a shame what is going on in their lives. Their spirits are still so high. I was telling Billy's mother that she is a saint. What she does is help her son live his life and makes it the best she can. I gave her a big hug and kiss and thanked her for being a good parent."
Some of the kids took part in games such as tossing a football or hitting a golf ball, while others were somewhat limited in what they could do because of the effects of muscular dystrophy.
"He was bouncing around the room and smiling," said Capizzi of Billy. "He can do some stuff, but after a while it wears him down. We played video games all night because he was so good at it. He accepts that he can't do some of the physical stuff so he tries to be the best at video games. He was kicking my butt all night.
"You could see the smile on his face. They understand what is going on and try to make the best of it."