Despite having to wake up early on a Saturday, a group of about 20 kids participated in Oakland’s Punt, Pass and Kick 2013 competition at the Arroyo Viejo recreation center on Oct. 12.
For the competition, boys and girls were split into different groups and divided by age. After taking turns throwing passes and kicking a football, they were instructed to apply their math skills to figure out the total distance for each of their passes, punts, and kicks.
“We enlighten, educate, empower, encourage and help kids explore here,” said Joe Moore, the long-time recreation leader at Arroyo Viejo. “These five E’s are a part of our youth development program.”
Kids who participated also worked on fundamentals, like getting into proper formation, and running offensive and defensive plays.
Although the slippery and muddy field at Arroyo Viejo made it difficult at times for the children to handle the ball, Coach Ivery Smith said that he was more than pleased with the energy and attitude he saw from each kid in practice.
“What kids end up getting the most from this program is not just recreational learning, but knowing that they have a place where they can feel welcomed,” Smith said. “A lot of kids that we get don’t have fathers. So Moore and I try to provide them with positive male influence.”
As for Moore, he said he didn’t mind sitting and waiting for parents to register their children for the football contest at 8 a.m. on a chilly and foggy morning.
“At Arroyo, kids can learn how to have fun. And when they get older, it is where they will learn how to win,” Moore said. “This is what OPR (Oakland’s Parks and Rec) is all about… bringing the community together.”