Special Guests Give the Memphis a Leg Up in The Healthy Competition

With only a few weeks remaining in the Gasol Foundation’s first annual Healthy Competition, the kids at the Porter Goodwill Branch of the Boys & Girls Club in Memphis recently welcomed some very special guests to help them edge out the competition in L.A.

To support the Gasol Foundation’s mission of increasing physical activity, veteran YMCA fitness instructor Pat Jones brought her kickboxing expertise and never-ending enthusiasm to the boys and girls of Porter Goodwill. Jones, who has worked with the Memphis Grizzlies and frequently volunteers her time for community organizations, led a group of over 50 youth – ages 8 to 18 – in an exhausting and exciting kickboxing session.

According to the Grizzlies Outreach Coordinator Daniel Peterson, who helped organize the session, kickboxing is often today integrated into the fitness regimes of many NBA players. In fact, during the Indiana Pacers successful 2013 playoff run, Roy Hibbert attributed his increased mobility and strength to kickboxing and similar training sessions. “The kids had fun learning kickboxing basics and discovering a new way to stay fit,” Peterson said.

DSC_0058After kickboxing, older participants – sweaty and smiling – continued to learn more about the correlation between core strength and success on the basketball court through participation in box-out rebounding and close-out perimeter defense drills facilitated by Grizzlies staff.

Meanwhile, the younger Boys & Girls Club kids spent the afternoon learning about another component of the Gasol Foundation’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle: nutrition and balanced diet.

Jane Nuckolls, System Director of Clinical Nutrition Service at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is a dedicated volunteer for the American Heart Association in Memphis, and introduced Porter Goodwill to the principles of healthy eating. But first, she rapped.

Taking a nonconventional approach, Nuckolls surprised the kids with a nutritional rap to break the ice. Speaking to fifteen kids ranging in age from 7 to 12, Nuckolls taught the importance of core food groups, healthy portions and the food pyramid through diagrams, interactive activities and toy food samples.

“For the first time in American history, the next generation will have a shorter lifespan than their parents,” said Nuckolls. “It is our responsibility to educate all children on the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet and participate in physical activities in order to prevent this prediction from coming true.”

Through partnerships with the American Heart Association, the Memphis Grizzlies and passionate volunteers, the Gasol Foundation offered invaluable learning experiences to the Memphis participants of The Healthy Competition.

“Marc and Pau have gotten the Gasol Foundation off to a great start this summer,” said Peterson. “We believe the Gasol Foundation has the opportunity to have a tremendous impact on childhood obesity in Memphis, L.A. and worldwide, and we look forward to the Gasol Foundations future growth.”

For more photos from The Healthy Competition in Memphis, click here.