Already verbally committed to play at the University of Virginia a year from now, Harry Crider won’t have the added pressure of impressing colleges when his senior football season begins.
Crider, though, will have a different sort of pressure on him when Columbus East plays its opener against Bloomington North on Aug. 19.
In addition to the game itself, the standout offensive lineman has set up a fundraiser, Kick-Off for Riley, as his senior project.
Crider has had a relationship with Riley Hospital for Children since age 10, when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
“They’ve been extremely helpful for me,” Crider said, “and so when I was just thinking of ideas for my senior project I thought of finding a way to give back to Riley. Then, in talking with them about my idea, we came up with this project.”
Collection tables will be set up around the field at East the night of the game. Crider chose the season opener in large part because it’s one of the bigger games on the Olympians’ home schedule, and there aren’t any other events such as homecoming to distract from it.
Having the distraction of the college recruiting process out of the way has also helped Crider pay more attention to his project, which he’s spent the bulk of his summer working on.
“Now that I’ve got (my recruitment) out of the way, I can really focus in on this,” Crider said, “and I’ve been able to take care of a lot of things here recently since I’ve committed, so it’s been nice.”
A few details still have to be worked out, including whether this will be a one-shot deal or the fundraiser will become an annual event. Crider has also reached out to Bloomington North to gauge interest in a potential fundraising competition between the two schools the week of the game, but nothing has been finalized yet.
Regardless, Crider is hopeful that the fundraiser will help bring in a good amount of money for Riley.
“They really like me there,” he said, “especially with this project now. They’re all for it.”
Checks can be made payable to Riley Hospital for Children. For more information about the fundraising effort, you can reach out to Crider himself at firstname.lastname@example.org.