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The vision of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara holding the Stanley Cup aloft is an image etched in the minds of fans all over New England. But for students with limited vision who attend the Perkins School for the Blind, Thursday was their day to experience the cup firsthand.
"It's been an exciting year to be a Bruins fan, and I will enjoy that Stanley Cup thing!" said Anton Sviridenko, one of over 100 Perkins students who lined up to touch and feel the intricate design of one of professional sports most famous prizes.
"It's big, it's huge!" Anton said.
"Do you feel the design on it?" I asked him.
"Yeah, it's like, I just kind of feel the design."
The cup visit was courtesy of Bruins strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides. Thursday was his day with the cup, and he wanted to share.
"Well it was nice to bring it here and let the kids actually get a chance to feel it, and have it in their community," Whitesides said. "This is what we want to do.
"It's the only experience to have you can actually get your hands on it."
And one by one, the students did get their hands — and in some cases, their feet — on the cup. Whitesides patiently posed for pictures with the kids.
Whitesides had a big smile on his face. I asked him if it rivaled actually winning the thing.
"Oh, absolutely, absolutely, this is better than winning it."
Whitesides was quick to take the Stanley Cup off the table to the floor so the younger students and those in wheelchairs could enjoy the moment.
"It's great to be here with these kids," Whitesides said. "We were at Children's Hospital this morning with it. You know the kids and how excited they are, it's what it's all about."
It's also about education, says Marilyn Rea Beyer of the Perkins School.
"It's got to inspire these students to continue in their physical education, to continue in their social interaction with the rest of their age group," she said. "And just for them to understand that while we kind of think of Perkins as special, everybody shares the same experiences. And that's a big education."
Perkins student Anton Sviridenko savored the experience.
"It's made of somewhat like a plaster, I don't know," he said. "It's like silvery design. ... It's made of silver, this trophy is silver."
Anton said it's a day he'll remember for a long time.
This program aired on June 30, 2011.
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