PALO ALTO, Calif. – Earthquakes players Matt Luzunaris and Anthony Ampaipitakwong added a twist to the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital 20th Anniversary celebration in Palo Alto on Sunday.
More accurately, they put some hip into the action with an impromptu hula-hoop contest. Ampaipitakwong lasted all of about 30 seconds, but Luzunaris kept the Earthquakes alive into the final two. In the end, Luzunaris gave way to one of the youngsters who effortlessly swished away the competition.
"I gave it everything I had, but Hailey was on cruise control. There was no chance I was going to outlast her," Luzunaris said.
[inline_node:9527]Hula hooping aside, San Jose's duo spent the afternoon signing autographs and posing for photos with a constant stream of young soccer fans. Fans delighted in trying to pronounce Ampaipitakwong and took away a free mini cupcake for their efforts as well as some Earthquakes swag.
"Seeing the smiles on kid's faces is as rewarding as it gets," Ampaipitakwong said. "It's an honor to be a part of such an amazing milestone for the hospital."
For Luzunaris, the event was especially meaningful. His girlfriend is three weeks in remission from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and his brother died at an early age from cancer. Luzunaris takes every opportunity he gets to join forces with local children's hospitals.
The celebration also included appearances from 49ers alumni and the San Jose Giants mascot Gigante.
PHOTO GALLERY: Quakes celebrate Lucile Packard 20th Anniversary
"The 20th Anniversary is an incredible milestone for our hospital," said Reena Mukamal, Senior Manager of Public Relations at Lucile Packard. "We have come a long way over the last 20 years in treating and helping members of our community and we’re thrilled to celebrate with the Earthquakes."
The Earthquakes will be back in the Palo Alto area on Saturday, July 2 to play the New York Red Bulls at Stanford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. with a fireworks extravaganza to follow. Click to take a look at ticket specials for the match.