JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Over 40 athletes from Northeast Florida getting a taste of the NFL life.
Saturday was the fourth year of the Special Olympics Florida Fantasy Camp with the Jaguars.
Victoria Bilyk-Seguine never thought she would be celebrating her 21st birthday this way.
The experience was a surprise after being tricked into thinking she would spend her day playing golf.
“This is one of the best birthday presents I have gotten,” Bilyk-Seguine said.
Bilyk-Seguine has been a part of Special Olympics Florida for a few years. She competes in several events in Duval County, including bowling.
The day started with the athletes getting a tour of TIAA Bank Field and Daily’s Place. Next, they each received a custom Jags jersey with their names graced on the back.
Then, it was time to put the pen to paper: every single athlete got to sign a one-day contract. They agreed to the terms and became the newest Jaguar player for a day.
Darryl Williams competes in several track and field events, including the 100-meter dash, long jump, high jump and 800-meter run. Shot put is his favorite.
“This has been one of the best moments of my life because I always wanted to go to the Jaguar stadium,” Williams said. “This is my dream come true.”
It was time for the newest Jaguars to hit the field for some drills.
Even team General Manager Trent Baalke was on hand to check out his new draft class.
Cooper Hodges was one of several rookies to help out. He is from Baker County and was just drafted by the Jaguars in the seventh round.
Making people happy and striving to be a role model is his goal.
“If the currency in the world today was high-fives and hugs, it would be awesome,” Hodges said. “I just want to meet their expectations and be the best player, person, contributor to this community that I can be.”
It was a remarkable experience for those taking part in the day’s activities.
“It was just very overwhelming in a good way,” Bilyk-Seguine said. “I am like, ‘Wow.’ “It was very amazing.”
It was a day full of surprises and an experience these Special Olympic Florida athletes say they will never forget.