“We want Blue… We want Blue… We want Blue…” the students at Cumberland Road Elementary in Fishers chanted as they awaited the arrival of the Colts mascot.
And when he emerged, he was greeted with a hero’s welcome.
When Blue visited last October, he left the kids with a challenge: to “be the best you can be.”
“With everything we do with the mascot program, we want to have a long lasting impact,” says Trey Mock, the guy who plays Blue. “So, when we go in to do a school show, it’s great to come in and do a 30-minute show and leave and leave a good message behind. But, we want to make a difference in that school.”
So he turned it into a contest, Blue’s Be the Best You Can Be Challenge.
“It’s the schools that the staff, the students, the teachers unite and that kind of messaging – eating healthy, fueling up to Play 60, playing 60 minutes a day, the anti-bullying campaign that we have, in general being the best you can be – when that spills out of the school walls and into the community, that’s really when you start to see a difference.”
Guidance counselor Melissa Riethman says the contest fit well with Cumberland’s school rules: be kind, be safe, and work hard.
“I kind of started the challenge and our PE teacher, Mrs. Fox, took it on. She made a playbook that we actually submitted to the Colts, which described different ways that the kids are involved with school, how we eat healthy lunches, how we incorporate movement in the school and do GoNoodle, field day, how the PTO is involved, how all the teachers do different things, many of the teachers are doing Play 60 right now in their classrooms, so we used all of that and incorporated it.”
And on Wednesday, Blue returned to award the Be the Best You Can Be trophy to Cumberland Road Elementary, along with a few things he promised to bring with him: the Super Bowl trophy, the Colts Cheerleaders, and Colts players.
Long snapper Matt Overton and wide receiver Quan Bray played games with them, including one where they threw Velcro balls at students in fuzzy suits (Overton snapped them football style). They also had a touchdown dance contest.
And they awarded prizes to the winners, Blue’s new book, Blue’s Road Trip Through Indiana.
Quan Bray talked about the importance of eating right.
“Even in school, it’s brain food if you eat good. You come to school the next day energized and knowing what you have to do in class and it helps you in daily life to live for a long time.”
Matt Overton had a strong message for bullies. “There’s no room for bullies here. If you’re a bully, get out of here!” he joked.
“There’s no room for that. And if you see someone getting bullied, one of your friends, stick up for them and say, ‘That’s not right.’”
He also talked about teamwork.
“In the ultimate team sport, football, it takes 11 guys at once to perform at the highest level. If one guy is out of sync, the entire operation doesn’t work. So, it’s very important to rely on your teammates and that will come through preparation, practice, trust, and hard work and sacrifice.”
The Colts are all about teamwork. On the field and in the community.
“We do 125 shows. It’s a lot of setup, tear down, a lot of time on the road,” says Mock. “But at every single school, if we can make a positive impact with just one student, then that’s so worth it. And that’s what our organization is about.”
One person can make a difference.
It doesn’t take special talent to be kind, be safe, or work hard.
But it does take special effort.
And Blue hopes the kids at Cumberland Road Elementary will keep that effort up over the summer, into next school year, and beyond.