Physical education class at Dunbar Elementary was a little more energetic than usual today, as members of the Atlanta Falcons football team helped teacher Samuel Hill challenge students to jump rope, tug-of-war and other fun activities as part of the 12th annual NFL-United Way Hometown Huddle.
The entire Falcons roster, including team owner Arthur Blank, descended upon metro Atlanta schools to fight childhood obesity and celebrate fitness by encouraging kids to be active at least 60 minutes a day. Of course, that was no problem for the 60 students of Dunbar, who completed sprints, kicked footballs and raced in potato sacks throughout the hour. Cheered on by pre-K students as well as outside linebacker Mike Peterson, boys and girls made short work of relay dashes, eagerly huddling around him for their next task.
But Peterson was not the only big man on campus. Offensive tackle Garrett Reynolds and defensive tackle Peria Jerry managed the tug-of-war station, struggling to represent their team as Dunbar students challenged them from the other side. Quarterback Chris Redman and defensive tackle Vance Walker also lent a hand, helping students toss the football and make mock field goal attempts.
“Anything that we can do to keep them motivated is a good thing,” Peterson said between activities. “Some kids listen to their parents, some listen to their teachers — and for some, it’s about the person who plays football on Sundays.”
Fortunately for Peterson and the guys, there will be plenty of time to recuperate before the big game against Cincinnati at the Georgia Dome.
“After today, I’m going to need two naps,” he said. As for the students, they were just getting fired up.