By Kevin Wilson
Eastern New Mexico University athletes spent a few hours Saturday giving a group of Portales youths something they couldn’t get anywhere else — a little bit of physical education.
About 125 children made their way to Greyhound Arena Saturday afternoon to take part in ENMU’s first participation in National P.E. Day. Megan Chilson, a faculty member with the university’s Health and Physical Education (HPE) department, organized the event from what was originally a graduate class brainstorming session.
“I gave my (HPE) 490 class the challenge of, ‘What can we do?’” Chilson said, “and this is what we came up with.”
May is National P.E. month, and several organizations (not limited to educational facilities) observing a day during the month. The HPE 490 class, Chilson said, is called Professional Review. The class is required for all seniors in the major, with the curriculum determined each semester.
Athletes from across the ENMU spectrum donated their time in eight different sessions, meant to simulate the activities children would experience in a normal P.E. class.
“The Portales school district does not have P.E. in K-6 grades, which are the basic years for the fundamental building of skills,” said Chilson, who added that an intention of the program was to convince parents to take more initiative in getting P.E. back into the school system.
Draco Miller, who coaches the offensive line and tight ends for the Greyhound football team, said that about 30 players joined in the efforts, and some worked with sports other than football in an effort to make the event run smoothly.
“The big point is, since Portales does not have P.E., the university took it upon itself to have a National P.E. day,” Miller said. “A lot of these kids want to move up and play something in high school, but if they can’t skip and they can’t hop they’re not going to be very successful.”
Chilson said that about 175 were registered for the event, but about 125 showed up — not a disappointing total with Cinco de Mayo activities and Portales Softball League tryouts also on Saturday. Chilson added that the intention is to make the National P.E. Day an annual event at ENMU.