PLEASANT VIEW, Tenn. — Five players and five cheerleaders hopped off the NFL PLAY 60 bus on Tuesday to visit Sycamore Middle School, which was selected as this year’s Super School winner in the Titans’ market.
In between the assembly and the workout, the Titans presented Sycamore Middle School with an oversized check that represented the $10,000 grant from NFL PLAY 60 that Sycamore Middle School was awarded to use toward physical education and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
“It’s great out here, seeing the enthusiasm and the excitement in the kids and being able to come out here and maybe impact them a little bit,” Mariani said. “Spreading the word about PLAY 60 and making good decisions and good choices along the way is important.
“Growing up, I had positive mentors in my life, and us guys sometimes take it for granted, but we’re on a platform where we can impact some kids,” Mariani continued, “so if one person remembers the message from today or if they make good decisions and get better grades or take anything from the program, it’s a (benefit).”
Sycamore Middle School guidance counselors Heath Tyler and Molly Hudgens wrote the winning grant, and the school demonstrated its support for the Titans with large models of LP Field, handmade signs and banners and an enthusiastic welcome.
Each year, the NFL selects 34 winning schools (one in each NFL market and two at-large winners) that demonstrate their NFL pride and a commitment to youth health and wellness.
Titans mascot T-Rac, the Tennessee State Parks, the American Heart Association and the Southeast Dairy Association joined the players and cheerleaders during the assembly that stressed getting 60 minutes of physical activity a day and combining that goal with eating nutritious foods, studying hard in the classroom and avoiding trouble. The assembly and workout were planned and coordinated by the Titans’ Community Relations Department.
Lisa Young, principal of approximately 800 fifth through eighth grade students at the school, said the program provided a good message.
“With the Titans discussing eating healthy, staying out of trouble, studying, staying in school, that means everything because these students are very impressionable at this age,” Young said. “They look for role models, and I think the Titans that were here today are excellent role models and showed that through their answers to the questions they were asked.”
The players and cheerleaders enjoyed guiding the students through multiple stations that included jumping rope, running relays, doing push-ups and sit-ups and lifting weights. The students enjoyed interacting with the players and cheerleaders during the rotational stations.
“They had a lot of fun, and the teachers and the principals seemed like they had fun as well so it’s good for the community,” Cook said.
McCourty said he wished he had been able to participate in a similar event when he was in middle school.
“It brightens up your day to come to school and know you have a few NFL players coming to your school, and to do an event like this is just a great thing,” McCourty said. “I remember being in middle school and the Harlem Globetrotters came to visit and (I was) just so excited. As a kid you dream about doing some of those things when you get older, and to actually see people doing that is a pretty cool thing.”
Bailey said the visit reminded him of when he was in fifth grade in San Antonio and former Spurs star David Robinson visited his school.
“Hopefully you make an impact on their lives, and hopefully it means something to them,” Bailey said. “Whenever we came in and they got on the school bus, they were just lighting up.”
Mariani said the Titans were proud to be part of the NFL PLAY 60 initiative and spread its message.
“I think staying active is going to be huge for the younger generation,” Mariani said.
About the NFL PLAY 60 Campaign:
The NFL’s PLAY 60 program encourages youth to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity or play per day in order to fight childhood obesity. The Tennessee Titans partner with Metro Nashville Public Schools, the American Heart Association, the Southeast Dairy Association and Tennessee State Parks to enhance this opportunity to reach out to area youth. Since the NFL’s PLAY 60 inception, the NFL has committed more than $100 million to youth health and fitness through programming, media time for public service announcements and grants from Titans Owner K.S. “Bud” Adams, Jr. and his fellow NFL owners and players. For more information about the NFL’s PLAY 60 program, visit http://www.nflrush.com/health.
About the American Heart Association:
The American Heart Association is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The association partners on the PLAY 60 Challenge to encourage 60 minutes of physical activity daily. To find out how to help kids live heart-healthy lives, visit www.heart.org/kids.
About the Southeast Dairy Association:
On behalf of dairy farm families, the non-profit Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, Inc. (SUDIA) works with schools and health professionals to promote Fuel Up to Play 60 in the schools. This school wellness program, provided locally by the Southeast Dairy Association and the Tennessee Titans, is helping to make wellness part of the game plan in Tennessee schools. The program encourages students to “fuel up” with nutrient-rich foods often missing from their diets. Learn more at www.FuelUpToPlay60.com. For more information, visit www.southeastdairy.org.