Cody Casares / The Advocate
To adhere to the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) initiative that encompasses all of its citywide programs, the City of San Pablo held its Punt Pass and Kick (PPK) Health Bowl on Saturday at Comet Stadium.
PPK offers boys and girls the opportunity to individually compete against their peers in punting, passing and kicking contests based on distance and accuracy.
With Super Bowl 50 taking place in the Bay Area this year, surrounding cities were invited to participate by holding local activities for kids.
“We just happened to be one of the cities that was prepared because of all that we deal with is promoting recreation in the community,” San Pablo mayor Rich Kinney said. “We felt it would be a perfect fit with (Contra Costa College) and its emphasis on sports and the great football program it has — we just think it was a great fit that would have a good turnout.”
Comet kicker Loran Fonseca showed the kids the finer points of kicking while quarterbacks Cameron Burston and Louis Michael displayed proper technique in passing for optimum yardage.
Many members of the Comet football team helped inspire local kids to dig deep in hopes of discovering their inner athlete.
CCC standout linebacker and sociology major Chima Onyeukwu was happy to give back to the community one more time before heading to Washington State University in May.
“I love seeing the kids happy like this. It makes me happy inside,” Onyeukwu said. “When I see the passion they have it makes me feel good. You can see some of them have the potential to become great athletes.”
With more than 130 kids pre-registered through the website listed on the flier and many more that registered in person, the turnout was estimated between 120 and 200 participants in total. Aside from the PPK competition, a hula-hoop, jump rope and dance contest were all held prior to the announcements of the PPK winners.
“Every kid gets either a junior size football or a regular ball. We also are handing out pedometers and water bottles to kids who take part in the coach Carter Challenge,” San Pablo Community Service Manager Greg Dwyer said. “We’re all about healthy eating and active living, it’s in our general plan for the city.
“Even when we have staff birthday parties we don’t serve ice cream and cake — it’s fruit and water. We’re hoping it starts a trend in everything that we do.”
Kids were also urged to take the coach Carter Gridiron Challenge. It is an obstacle course similar to what skill position players go through after leaving the ranks of youth football.
The NFL awarded grants to select cities that hosted Super 50 related events, but San Pablo was not awarded a grant so city funds, along with sponsor support, put up the funding for the festivities.
Since only a handful of local cities held Super 50 events parents came from cities surrounding San Pablo to give their kids a chance to show their stuff.
“(Football) coach (Alonzo) Carter invited us. It was a good opportunity to bring my son and his friend out. We drove down from Vallejo,” parent Harold Burston said. “It is a good community event.”
Kaiser Permanente, Mechanics Bank, Moler Barber College and a host of City of San Pablo-related organizations were responsible for sponsoring the occasion at CCC.