They were lined up on the field at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on Tuesday night, 300 students from Indiana schools – to celebrate the 2017 Play 60 Challenge.
“The American Heart Association, the Colts, and the NFL have partnered for years on a program called NFL Play 60. It encourages kids to be active and build the habits that will lead to a healthy lifestyle when they’re adults,” said Tim Harms with the American Heart Association.
For these kids, it was continuing the healthy habits they already started.
“Throughout the school year, we had a program in schools to encourage kids to be active, to get exercise, they logged their minutes, and today a number of those schools and those kids are coming to the Colts complex as kind of a reward for a job well done,” Harms said.
In partnership with the American Heart Association, the Y of Greater Indianapolis, and Riley Children’s Health, the kids celebrated the successful completion of the 2017 Play 60 Challenge, which ran from February through May.
And to help them celebrate, Colts players and Colts mascot, Blue, joined in on the fun.
“We were here at the same spot you guys are at when someone else was telling us how important it is to go outside, play, do everything right, and we’re making a livelihood out of it,” said quarterback Stephen Morris.
The players ran the kids through drills on the Colts practice field, encouraging them and interacting with them along the way.
“I think the most important part is instilling the foundation that 60 minutes a day can have a huge impact on your overall health and wellness,” said safety Matthias Farley.
“Obviously, eating healthy is big too. But if you can get outside, especially in the society that we live in – there’s so much technology and people just sit. So to get out and play and be active is really important – especially for kids because you’re developing, you’re growing, and setting the foundation for the rest of your life,” he said.
And the most important part for the kids?
“To just get them to have fun, that’s the main thing,” said linebacker Curt Maggitt. “I like to add some competition and make one chase the other one. That’s the way I have fun. Two sisters just went. She didn’t catch her, but that was fun.”
When it was time to change stations, Maggitt huddled up with his group.
“When I say play, you all say 60…”
“Play! 60! Play! 60! Play! 60!”
Across the field, linebacker Edwin Jackson was getting his kids fired up.
“Number one! Number one! Who? Number one!”
“Are y’all ready? Let’s go!”
“You’re feeding off their energy,” he said. “Just showing them that it’s good to get off the couch and to run around and exercise is very important and the most important thing is just having fun.”
Having fun was the easy part.
“Go! Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go… There you go! Touchdown! You need a touchdown dance. There you go!”
At Jackson’s station, the touchdown dance was more important than the touchdown itself.
“The little Nae Naes and whips, a couple dabs, just trying to get them fired up,” he said. “You might miss the catch or you might miss the touchdown, but you can still dance and have fun.”
And that’s the idea, that 60 minutes of activity can be anything. But when it’s fun, it’s a lot easier to get it done.
And that’s true no matter how old you are.