The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Patch and is being reprinted with permission.
While football fans across the nation descend upon the Bay Area to celebrate the most watched sporting event of the year, the San Mateo community is prepping for another event of equal excitement and significant importance.
On Saturday, February 6th from noon to 3:00 PM College of San Mateo will open College Heights Stadium to the undefeated Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team (WWAFT) in a moving match against San Francisco’s NFL Alumni.
The WWAFT formed in February 2012 and is made up of men and women who lost a limb while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Its first game against the NFL Alumni was played prior to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. The WWAFT record vs. the NFL Alumni now stands at 13-0 and the WWAFT has defeated the NFL Alumni at the last four Super Bowls. This year’s game in San Mateo will be their fifth appearance during activities leading up to the Super Bowl.
“College of San Mateo is honored to host this very special tribute to our veterans who have given so much of themselves to protect our country and our freedom. The Super Bowl is one of the most celebrated events of the year, and the eyes of the nation and the world will be on the Bay Area. Our goal is to make this game the second most visible event of the week – an honor our veterans deserve,” says Andreas Wolf, College of San Mateo Dean Kinesiology, Athletics, and Dance/Athletic Director. “What is even more special is the opportunity for the community to be active participants in this event, rather than simply passive observers. I would expect nothing less from our community than to come out en masse to pay their respect to these heroes.”
San Mateo, located on the 50-yard line of the San Francisco Peninsula, is mid-way between San Francisco and Sunday’s game. It’s an ideal location for visitors as well as those living in the Bay Area to watch a live game, participate in Super Bowl activities, and experience the San Mateo community.
“Hosting this tribute at the College of San Mateo is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! CSM is a terrific school and all of us with the WWAFT look forward to showing the nation what San Mateo already knows,” says Chris Visser, founder, and CEO of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team. “We hope all of San Mateo will join us for this game at CSM on February 6th. It will be a lot of fun, so let’s make some history on February 6th at the College of San Mateo! ”
While San Mateo’s location makes the Wounded Warrior Amputee game accessible to football enthusiast, a little-known fact about the San Mateo community makes its location significantly appropriate. San Mateo has a history of supporting its Veterans and has prioritized these relationships since the Vietnam era. In 1968, during the Vietnam War, San Mateo adopted 1/327 Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. The community embraced this relationship and built morale with letters of support and gratitude from home. When the war ended, San Mateo was the only city in the United States to welcome troops home with a parade. This relationship continues today with letter drives and care packages to troops stationed in Afghanistan.
The San Mateo community is proud to host the Wounded Warrior Amputee game. It makes a tremendous contribution to the Super Bowl events and is a striking contrast to Sunday’s game. One built on months of rivalry and competition, and the other rooted in the perseverance and bravery needed to face life’s most challenging circumstances. Both games will inspire viewers, but as Veterans from around the nation walk onto the field in San Mateo, there will be a profound difference when the two teams face-off.
“Saturday, February 6th will be a poignant moment in San Mateo,” says Joe Goethals, San Mateo Mayor. “The Wounded Warrior game showcases the very best of our community. We are honored to host this game; show our support and gratitude to the brave men and women on the field, and welcome guests from around the world to our city.”
All proceeds from the game benefit the WWAFT and Disabled Veteran’s Initiatives in the Bay Area. Tickets are $10 for adults, and admission is free for children and non-profits. They are available online at WWAFT.org or on game day at College Heights Stadium. Free autographs and photo opportunities are available as well as a raffle prizes including 49ers, Raiders, and NFL autographed jerseys, helmets, and footballs. For more information, please visit CSM’s event calendar.