INGLEWOOD, CA (News4usonline) – As the countdown winds down on the number of days before the Los Angeles Chargers make LA Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park their permanent residence for home football games, the franchise continues its philanthropic activities in the city of Inglewood.
Tuesday morning at Edward Vincent Jr. Park, Chargers rookies were greeted with plenty of screams and enthusiasm as they made a surprise visit to engage 200 students from Centinela Elementary School in a couple of hours of Play60 Blitz fun.
“Just doing a bunch of drills with them; it’s just a blessing to be around the kids, and enjoying the games,” safety Nasir Adderley said. “I think back, and I was in that same position, so it’s a blessing where I am now and to be able to give back.”
The activity lines for the students included going through and participating in different drills, all with the goal of encouraging them to embrace being active and knowing the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
“They got me doing endless push-ups and running around, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m very happy we’re able to do this,” Adderley added.
Linebacker Curtis Akins didn’t get the opportunity to participate in an NFL Play60 event growing up, so this experience for him was totally new.
“It’s the greatest experience,” Akins said. “This is my first time doing it. It’s just the love for the kids, just giving back.”
The morning of fun and games was also a chance for these high-tier professional athletes to reinforce some basic fundamentals of discipline the students can apply everyday at school as well as at home, Akins said.
“It’s great to show them a good experience, and to show them the right way to mind their teachers, peers, and their parents,” Akins said.
The Chargers were not alone in this venture. The organization joined forces with the Inglewood Police Department as well as Centinela Elementary School (Inglewood Unified School District) to give students a chance of a lifetime in meeting and hanging out with NFL players. LaDainian Tomlinson, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and Chargers legend, was on hand as well to hype the students on getting more physical activity and eating well.
“I think this is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta said. “In fact, I wish I had this opportunity when I was a kid to really up and close and personal to athletes. But also, the fact the program itself; to encourage kids to get out and exercise, at least 60 minutes a day. I think that’s a very important and good message.”
Jerry Tillery, the club’s first round draft pick this year, said he enjoyed the morning activities.
“A lot of fun,” Tillery said. “It was great. I loved being out here with the kids, showing them a couple of football drills. We had a good day.”
When it comes to navigating the importance of these young people being able to interact with the players, Tillery said the opportunity allows for students to see them simply as people.
“I think it means a lot…to show that we’re more than just helmets. We’re actually people in the community,” Tillery said.
Dennis is editor and publisher of News4usonline. A news and sports reporter, Dennis has written about civil rights, education, government, crime, and social justice. Dennis covers the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and NCAA. He is a graduate of Howard University. HU!!