By Kevin Wilson
For the second time in as many years, teachers and athletes at Eastern New Mexico University took a day to show local children how important education was — in a physical sense.
Greyhound Arena played host Saturday to the university’s second annual physical education day, a part of the national P.E. day celebration across the country and a local cooperation of ENMU teachers, coaches, students and area sponsors.
The program is meant to educate children about the importance of P.E. according to ENMU assistant professor of health and physical education Megan Chilson. Portales schools, like many schools across the country, do not carry physical education in the lower grades.
On Saturday, more than 200 grade-schoolers learned about a variety of physical activities they could do on their own time, including football, volleyball and cheer/dance.
“The goal is to show the kids the importance of P.E. in their lives,” Chilson said. “We’re trying to get them to think that they should be doing a lot of this.”
Participants were allowed to pick six activities throughout the three-hour event. Chilson said that more events were added this year, simply by reducing break times between sessions.
Each participant received a T-shirt and a water bottle, and door prizes were also given away after the sessions were complete.
The event was done as part of a class in the health and physical education department, with the help of the Shape Club (of which Chilson is the advisor).
Event organizers were pleased with the turnout, especially considering other events going on in the area (Little League opening day, youth soccer) at the same time.
“This year, we have more parents come out and stay around,” said Draco Miller, who helped organize the event. “Last year was a great turnout, but this year was unbelievable.”
Miller coaches wide receivers, tight ends and kickers for the Greyhound football team. He said that the event helped the players complete their goal of 1,000 hours of community service for the year.
“We have about 25-30 football players taking time out of their schedules on Saturday to play with the kids,” Miller said. “We want to let the community know that we are supporting them and thank them for supporting us.”
The football players weren’t the only ones out, as the volunteer count included nearly 80 athletes. One was Leif Craddock, a sophomore goaltender for the Greyhound soccer team.
“It’s fun to get out here,” Craddock said. “The little kids are hilarious. They come how here and they don’t care — they just have fun.”