They took part in the Get the Ball Rolling Flag Football Experience at Redskins Park. Sponsored by Coca-Cola, this event took the students far beyond the playing field of the Redskins’ indoor practice facility.
The three-hour experience began with games of touch football “captained” by some of the Redskins. Players mentoring the students included quarterback Robert Griffin III; running back Alfred Morris; fullback Darrel Young; wide receiver Ryan Grant; linebackers Keenan Robinson and Houston Bates; safety Kyshoen Jarrett; and kicker Dustin Hopkins.
The Seneca Ridge students were no strangers to the game.
They are part of the school’s Flag Football Club that began three years ago at the request of a group of former students. Overseen by civics and economics teacher David Bell, the members of the club meet every Wednesday to gather equipment and review rules (sometimes they and Bell talk about professional football games from the weekend). At 3:30 they head to the field, set up their cones, warm up and play until the 4:20 dismissal time.
The Seneca Ridge students invited to Redskins Park have participated in the Flag Football Club for three years.
After the touch games, the students went to the team’s training facility where they first were seated in the Redskins’ meeting room. At the front of this venue were Washington’s long snapper, Nick Sundberg, Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Clark and Executive Chef Jon Mathieson. The trio spoke about the importance of conditioning and nutrition.
Mathieson said he and his staff begin work at 5 a.m. each day preparing balanced meals for the players. The meals always contain protein, a starch and a vegetable. The culinary staff carefully measures the amount that is placed on each plate so that portions are not overly generous. “Everything has to be in moderation.”
Sundberg allowed that portion control has always been his dietary nemesis. He said he weighed 229 pounds (at 5-9) when he was in middle school. Years of healthier eating and daily workouts have left him a chiseled 6-1, 254. Sundberg, the Redskins long snapper since 2010, also told the students his road to the NFL wasn’t an easy one. He was cut by the Panthers and Ravens and turned down by several other teams after tryouts before landing in Washington.
Clark told the students they weren’t too young to begin weight training; in fact, they are already doing it. Everyday activities, like shooting a basketball, can build muscle. The key to being fit, he added, was constant activity. Clark said the students should be actively exercising at least an hour a day.
After the nutritional talk, the students were served a nutritious meal (chicken, grits, broccoli and a cookie) in the team’s cafeteria. They finished their visit to Redskins Park eating like a pro.