Joe Oliveira, the father of an 11-year old boy said he has to put more effort in waking up his son, normally tapping him for a while on a regular basis. However, all of that changed on a Wednesday morning.

Also named “Joe”, Oliveira’s son was very happy to get up from bed, an unusual thing from the past. Joe is a fifth grade student at the Green Acres Elementary school, who is amongst the nearly 400 students out of the Track and Field Day’s fifth year for the school district.

Del Mar Elementary principal Marilyn Rockey organized the event, getting the students moving and going outside. The event tends to bring fourth and fifth grade students from the district’s 5 elementary schools every single day for physical activities.

Rockey said the event was organized, considering the increasing rate of obesity among children because of excessive sitting and gaming time, instead of spending time outside. The principal said this is the main response to that issue.

Based on the 2011-2012 data from the CDC, there are roughly 17% or 12.7 million young individuals, aged 2 to 19 who are considered obese. The figures have remained constant since another study on 2003-2004.

The organizers of the event gave out medals in each event from every grade level, including 10 sportsmanship medals to those who demonstrated something exceptional. Rockey said amongst the emphasis of the event was to recognize sportsmanship.

Meanwhile, Oliveira said, as a parent, he wanted to endorse something that will make his son moving, while building camaraderie with others. According to him, he witnessed enthusiasm and character building throughout the event, considering it as a great activity, and admitted he loved it.

Amongst the activities included various foot races, tug of war, long jump, and a softball throw. While the event was filled with field activities, the running events drew the most attention and excitement among the participants. The spectators were very cheerful as they rose from their seats, encouraging the runners. The parents and other students also yelled words of encouragement, storming the chain-link fence as they shouted and cheered.

A Del Mar Elementary fourth grade student Hannah LoFranco heard her name from the crowd. Her classmates chanted her name as she finished first place in the 800-meter run. According to the little girl, the cheers made her go faster, thus, finishing first in the race, although she admitted that the race was a bit hard and fun at the same time. She also stated that the event was a very good idea, allowing them to move their bodies and exercise more.

Alexis Madrid, son of Maria Rivera also joined the event. While he took his place at the starting line of the 800-meter run, his mother shouted his name, while snapping a photo. Rivera said she just talked to another mother, both saying that the sport-filled event made them feel confident that their kids will not be playing too much on cell phones or video games, or worse be in gangs.


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