Bobcats Rescue Recess
By Malinda Murray
April 1, 2008
Tuesday started out as a dreary, dismal day, but by mid-afternoon, the skies had cleared and the sun had come out, creating the perfect conditions to head outside and play.
That’s exactly what more than 125 kids at Nations Ford Elementary did when the Bobcats in partnership with Time Warner Cable and the Cartoon Network dropped by the school to help “rescue recess”.
Armed with the task of encouraging students to exercise daily, Bobcats rookies Jared Dudley and Jermareo Davidson, Lady Cats Dancers Jenn, Jordan, Krystle and Maria, Bobcats mascot Rufus Lynx and the Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 made things fun by spending the afternoon leading the kids in several different types of fitness activities.
The sound of laughter could be heard from every angle as the kids joined their special guests at four different stations. Each station featured an activity that students could do every day while at recess.
Davidson took control of the basketball station, guiding the kids while they took aim at the hoop.
“We came out here to promote exercise, health and good eating and basically just make the kids smile and have fun,” he explained.
If the grins that spread from ear to ear were any indication, the Bobcats mission was a success. It wasn’t just the students who were grinning though. The Bobcats players couldn’t help catch the excitement as they watched the kids unbridled joy. One of the highlights for Davidson was watching one student celebrate her success with a friend.
“There was a girl that made a jump shot and she and her friend did this classic handshake,” explained Davidson with a smile. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. It was pretty cool.”
While Davidson was busy working on basketball skills, Dudley was manning the jump rope station.
The 6-7 guard was brimming with energy, moving from group to group encouraging, instructing and even doing a little jump roping himself.
When one student couldn’t quite master the task, Dudley stepped in.
“I’ll tell you when to jump,” he said as he turned the rope. “Jump now, Jump now.”
“That’s it,” he encouraged, when the student who just minutes before hadn’t been able to jump, successfully made it over the rope five or six times.
Dudley realizes how much it means to the students to have visits like this at their school.
“I remember when the Chargers came to my elementary school,” he said. “I was excited when professional athletes or movies stars came. You always wanted to get autographs, so it’s nice now to be able to give back.”
For the students, this will be an experience they will be able to take with them forever.
“It’s so important because they don’t get many experiences like this so they truly appreciate it when they get to do things like this,” said Ms. Payne, a third grade teacher at the school. “It shows them that they can be something. It’s great.”
In addition to playing basketball and jumping rope, the students were given the opportunity to participate in aerobics and dance with members of the Lady Cats.
“I was running the aerobics station,” said Lady Cat Jenn. “We were doing jumping jacks, crab walks and having a good old time. It was a lot of fun. I miss recess actually.”
In another area, Lady Cats Krystle, Jordan and Maria were teaching the kids a short dance routine to the music being played on-site by KISS 95.1 and K 104.7. To make it even more memorable, the Lady Cats brought pom-poms for the students to use while learning the routine.
But it wasn’t just the kids who got into the act. The teachers seemed to be having a great time as well.
“The excitement was unbelievable, but I’m not sure who was having more fun whether it was the children or the teachers,” exclaimed Assistant Principal Dr. Rhonda Gomez. “They were out there jumping rope, and dancing with the Lady Cats and exercising with Rufus. This was great because the students were able to see us from a different perspective. They see us out there having a good time and laughing and being fit.”
Being physically active is what the Bobcats hope the students take away from today.
“Physical education is a big part of what I think kids are missing today,” said Lady Cat Maria, “so I think it was just great for the Charlotte Bobcats organization to come out and really promote that to them.”
"It’s good to start at an early age,” said Davison “It helps with long living. It’s good that they are trying to reach out and teach them how important it is right now.”
Having fun is a key ingredient when being physically active and perhaps nothing sums it up better than the comments of two of the students.
“This is the best day ever,” one girl commented quietly as the activities drew to a close.
“We jumped roped, we played basketball, we cheered and we did some aerobics and we exercised,” said a fifth grade student. “The best part was having fun.”
The Rescuing Recess program is a joint initiative through NBA Cares and the Cartoon Network. The program seeks to build awareness about the status of daily recess and provide practical solutions that empower kids, teachers and parents to promote the importance of recess for student wellness and academic performance.
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