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Falcons players give physical fitness lessons at Fair Street

POSTED: February 11, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Scott Rogers/The Times

Fair Street Elementary Fifth-grader Rogelio Uribe, 11, hops through a footwork exercise while Atlanta Falcon and West Hall High graduate Martrez Milner watches Wednesday afternoon in the school's gymnasium. Falcons' players Milner and David Patterson were on hand to help the students participate in the activities designed to get kids more interested in fitness.

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Fair Street elementary fifth- grader Jalaluddin Numanlia-wane was trying his best to show off his physical prowess Wednesday afternoon.

Whether it was breaking out a set of 25 push-ups on the spot in front of fellow students or a beginner’s try at doing a split, Numanlia-wane, 10, was trying to keep the mood lively as the school hosted an Atlanta Falcons Fitness Zone and Arthur Blank Foundation event at the school’s gym.

On hand for the event to keep the kids’ attention and give a little motivational talk were Falcons tight end Martrez Milner, a West Hall High graduate, and first-year defensive tackle David Patterson. Fair Street also had a trio of cheerleaders from the Georgia Force arena league franchise and representatives from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County on hand.

"These Falcons players work hard and are very talented athletes," Numanlia-wane said. "I think this is a great opportunity to learn to workout like these guys.

"Hopefully, I can be athletic like them."

Wednesday’s activities included kids hopping, skipping and running around during their physical education class as part of a HopSports Training Systems circuit course to enhance their physical endurance. What made it more exciting for the children was having a pair of NFL players on hand running through the designed course at the same time.

"It is so much fun to do these exercises with the players," fourth grader Destiny Williams said. "They are very nice and help us learn what to do.

"I hope they come back."

Not all the of the kids’ inquires were exactly on point with the day’s focus. When Milner was asked by one fourth grader during the question-and-answer session if he could help tie his shoes, the Falcons’ tight end was more than happy to lend a hand.

Patterson was especially interested in hamming it up with the kids as they ran through the course as dictated by a video monitor on the gym’s stage. And when kids were attentive to their message after working up a sweat, he stressed the importance of studying, making good grades and regular exercise.

"It’s fun to meet with these kids," Patterson, a former Ohio State standout, said. "I have nieces and nephews and it’s fun to spend time with the kids.

"And it’s good to see them do things with their lives that are positive. Not all of the kids have positive influences to look up to."

Fair Street principal Merrianne Dyer noted this first-year partnership with the Falcons is part of a $2 million grant from the Blank foundation to help promote overall physical fitness and well-being for students and their families. She noted census data that indicated Georgia has some of the highest rates of childhood obesity.

The overall goal is to have children do 30 minutes of physical activity each day. To help in that goal, partners from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County hold a Fitness zone event at the school each Thursday. Once each month, the school is treated to a visit from Falcons players.

Fair Street’s day-to-day activities keep physical fitness in mind whether it be a "no-stop recess", walking to field trips over to the Brenau University campus, or an afternoon visit to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hall County for activities.

"Promoting youth fitness is very important," Falcons communications manager LaRhonda Jackson said. "We want to be able to use the athletes where they are most credible."


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