VIDEO: PNG athletes ask “How many times can you keep a roll of toilet paper up?”

Published 12:22 am Saturday, March 21, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The No. 1 goal to beating the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing — a concept that is not sitting well with the Port Neches-Groves ISD community.

Students in the area were hit with the closing of their school, loss of activities, competition and sports all at once.

Instead of wallowing in those losses, many reached out instead to find the blessings.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Port Neches-Groves High School girls soccer team took to Twitterverse this week to start the viral #tpchallenge.

Juggling toilet paper has helped PNG soccer players like Breeana Riggs keep the fun going while school is not in session. (I.C. Murrell/The News) 3-20-20

“I think it was just something fun that we could do to get the community involved,” head coach Aimee Bates said. “It was awesome to see the Indian Spirit in full costume again, see our Indianette captain, our quarterback and everyone else. It was just nice to see the community come together and see how everyone was doing.”

Seniors of the girl’s soccer team felt a pang in their hearts Tuesday night at the loss of what would have been their senior night.

The team took a moment to grieve and started looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, starting the challenge the very next day.

The TP challenge started with Bates “juggling” a roll of toilet paper as many times as possible with her feet, then tagging her athletes in a challenge to do better.

Bates said the idea came from a fellow coach but she added her own spin — the toilet paper.

“I just ran with the idea,” she laughed. “Toilet paper is really tough to get right now, so we thought it was a funny twist on a serious problem.”

Bates encouraged her team to tag their friends, unaware of how fast it would spread.

The first video now has 3,400 views.

Teachers, coaches and athletes of all genres followed suit, uploading videos of triumph and failure.

“I thought it would be my team and their small group of friends, but it just ran from there,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed it and laughed out loud every day because of it. It’s brought me a lot of enjoyment.”

Bates said what might seem like a small, silly challenge broke through a fog of uncertainty and doubt.

Breeana Riggs, senior forward, said she is grateful for the distraction and opportunity to see her teammates and classmates.

“(This challenge) gave us something to do and a chance to interact with each other again,” she said. “It’s really great, because it’s bringing our community together, lifting spirits and lifting moods.”

While the fate of the season is still unknown, Riggs said she is holding on to hope.

“I expected to be able to finish out my season as a perfect season,” she said. “I’m really sad because I want to be able to finish the season like the seniors before me had, but I’m not giving up yet.”

According to UIL rules, the earliest a soccer match can occur is May 4.

In the end, Bates said she hoping for the chance to see her team crowned as champions.

“My athletes are in the middle of arguably their best year ever,” she said. “We have a chance to go undefeated (10-0), so they are struggling with not being able to play right now. This (challenge) broke through that. It’s comical, funny and broke up that stress we are all feeling. It’s just a good way to laugh and be able to see each other.”