I went to a really fun, well-organized, educational, AND entertaining event today! I helped out at the 5th annual Rally for School Health at Ford Field in Detroit.
The Fuel Up to Play 60 program encourages students to educate about and promote healthy eating (including dairy) and exercise in their schools. This event is big! Thirty schools - each with six students and three advisors - came to take part in the program. It was put on by the United Dairy Industry of Michigan.
After a fantastic breakfast where we got to know the students, former Detroit Lion Herman Moore fired up the students. Then Jill Jayne, billed humorously-on-purpose as 'the only rock star nutritionist' entertained and engaged the students with a message about healthy living.
The Detroit Lions coaches and Former Detroit Lion Jason Hanson talked to the audience. At one point, Jason said, "Do you know what professional football players do when they're done with a hard workout? They drink chocolate milk."
I'm not kidding, I broke into applause. The healthy message of chocolate milk is everywhere!
Then, it was time for all of us to run through the tunnel and onto the field! I don't care if you're a football fan or not ... it was loud, the music was pumping ... it was exciting!
The coaches ran us through many drills. We ran in those little ladders. We passed footballs. We sprinted. We even tackled those big dummies.
(For a girl who's never going to be on a football team, it was very exciting. When would I ever have the chance to do this?)
They yelled at us, they blew on their whistle, they told us when we weren't doing things right. Students were learning from real coaches and real professionals. We all had a good time.
After we sweated through that - I'm not kidding, I really did sweat - we had lunch. There was a taste and vote for the kids. It was entertaining to me, because I realize that not all kids have the same eating experiences. The kids at my table weren't even able to identify sweet potatoes or chickpeas. Not only had they never had them, but they couldn't even recognize them on sight. I told my children this later and they laughed out loud. But all the kids were drinking milk, at least!
We had speaker Jean Blaydes talk about how nutrition, exercise, water, and sleep make you smarter. She was having us stand up and do different activities every few minutes. A lot of our meetings could incorporate some of that!
We went back to the field and Jason Hanson answered the students' questions. (Right before this I asked him if I could get my picture taken with him. I led with, "I'm a dairy farmer. Can we get our picture with you?" That sentence really opens doors.)
He was good. Someone asked what the funniest moment in his years of playing was - and he said once he had a flight scheduled to go and see his wife have their baby. She was in a different state on bed rest. The only way he wouldn't make his flight was if the game ran late. The game ran late and ... it was up to him to kick the field goal. If he made it, they'd win, and he'd get to see his son being born. If he missed it, everyone would hate him, and he'd miss his son's birth. He made it, ran out of the stadium, and got to be there for the birth. He said it was funny now ... not then.
Jill Jayne taught all the kids (and some of us adults) a dance on the field 'The Bone Rap', all about how great milk is for your body. I wondered why I never pursued a dance career.
We all got footballs and played around on the field as we waiting for our professional photo with the players and Roary, the Detroit Lions mascot.
My friend Annie Link was one of the other dairy farmers there. There were only a few of us - and it's always nice to go to events like this to represent our industry!
Congrats to United Dairy Industry of Michigan for a successful event! I'm glad it generates such excitement for the students and in the schools.
When I got home, some turf fell out of my shoes. Yep. I'm practically a real football player now. I'm on the same number of NFL teams as this guy.
Honestly, the overall message of the importance of exercise and good food choices was heard loud and clear. It was a great event and I'd get turf in my shoes for it any day.