Texans Tackle Tough Foe

The Houston Texans didn’t get much of a challenge from the Raider’s on Sunday. The game was a blowout before halftime. Today, the team’s rookies got what might have been a tougher challenge — taking on a bunch of 3rd graders. Bill Stamps has the story.

If you’ve ever seen those United Way commercials where professional athletes are at a school reading a book, or somewhere in the city planting a tree. Well, this was like those commercials. Houston Texans rookies were at Houston’s Anderson Academy to tell children how important it is to stay fit and active. And it really was put on by the United Way.

First, each player talked about the things they did as kids.

“When I was growing up, I didn’t have the luxury of video games. So my parents always made sure that I stayed active whether it be climbing trees, it didn’t matter what I did, but I was always doing something outside or even inside you know playing hide and go seek.”

After that it was time for stretching and jumping jacks something kids normally might not be excited about, but when a pro football player is standing next to you, who wouldn’t.

“One, two, three, four.”

Last year the Texan’s top rookie Brian Cushing was in California playing for USC. Now, he’s a role model for these young students.

“You know you make kid’s days when you come in here. I know I would be ecstatic for an opportunity like this you know the local team to come into my middle school or grammar school. It’s special. It means a lot to see how happy you make these kids.”

“One, two, three, four.”

The Texans even brought two cheerleaders with them and took the young girls to another room to teach them a dance move.

“One, two, three, four.”

The United Way wants to students to live a healthy active lifestyle, but Principal Stephanie Rhodes says that will involve families making some major changes.

“In the age of video games, our children in the U.S. spend far too much time in front of the television as opposed to being outside like it was when I was growing up.”

And what does Rhodes think the kids should be doing instead of playing video games?

“Taking a rock and making a hopscotch like I used to do. But there’s so many different activities, just outside jumping rope. We need to get back to the basics with a lot of things that we need to do with eye hand coordination. Hopscotch, just the basic things that we took for granted when we were growing up. Many of our children have no idea.”
Bill: “Do they even know how to play hopscotch these days?”

In those United Way commercials, the professional athletes are always making a difference. Whether or not these kids will put down the controllers and pick up a football or jump rope…remains to be seen.

Bill Stamps KUHF Houston Public Radio News.