Lobo Linemen, Kirtland Students Entertain Each Other
Feb. 25, 2013
By Greg Archuleta
A brisk late February afternoon on the soccer field at Kirtland Elementary School - the perfect time and place for the kids to do some drills with the Lobo football team.
Nine University of New Mexico offensive linemen made the short trek to the elementary school Monday to teach some football skills to a group of kids from kindergarten to fifth grade. The Lobos volunteered their time to participate in the kids' after-school sports program.
"I love kids," junior offensive tackle Jamal Price said about the opportunity to work with the children. "It's a real blessing to do the things we do as UNM students and football players. Growing up, I didn't have a role model until I was older, so it's great to spend some time with the kids. We're their biggest fans."
It's the second year the Lobos have interacted with the children from Kirtland. UNM players also will spend time in the classroom reading to the kids later in the school year. Last year, they showed up prior to a day of state testing, throwing an impromptu pep rally for the children.
"I think it's a great way for them to spend community service (time), said Nicole Tabor, a UNM alumnus and third-grade teach at Kirtland who is part of the after-school program's supervisory team. "We're always interested in getting kids to exercise and stay healthy, and it's neat to see the bonding between the players and the kids."
Price served as the UNM player representative for Monday's session. He was responsible for supplying the equipment (footballs, cones, and rope ladders) for the kids to use as well as recruiting teammates to spend the afternoon at the elementary school.
Price's position mates Monday included sophomore guard Garrett Adcock, sophomore center Josh Baggett, senior center Dillon Farrell, senior tackle Darryl Johnson, redshirt freshman guard Jack Lamm, senior guard Calvin McDowney, sophomore tackle Dillon Romine and sophomore guard Johnny Vizcaino.
"It's my job to coach the offensive linemen (in getting them to come out) and make sure everybody's having a good time," Price said. "These kids are the greatest. This is all for them."
The kids caught footballs, did some timing drills with cones as individuals and as part of a team, tip-toed over the rope-ladders and ran an obstacle course.
Baggett, a graduate of Rio Rancho High School, said he felt a personal sense of commitment to interact with the kids.
"Being a kid from Albuquerque myself, this is a major thing for me," he said. "I hope they look at me and know that they can grow up and go to college. And this is just as fun for us as it is for them."
The only downside of the event, Price said, was knowing he has only a limited number of opportunities with the kids left during his Lobo career.
"But I'd love to do this again next year, if they'll have me," he said.