Fitness night gets families moving

Published 10:36 pm Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Old Dominion University’s women’s basketball team added a competitive element and a touch of stardom to a family fitness night at John Yeates Middle School Tuesday.

Players and coaching staff attended the event at the invitation of the school’s Parent-Teacher-Student Association, challenging children and family members to timed sit-ups, pickleball, Zumba, yoga, tchoukball, table tennis and more.

“They are competitive with everything they do,” said Karen Barefoot, head coach of the Lady Monarchs, “whether it’s on the court, whether it’s in the community, or whether it’s in the classroom.”

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The PTSA organized the first Fall Family Fitness Night at the school last year, physical education teacher Gina Herr said. “Last year, we had about 160 people,” she said.

The message throughout the evening Tuesday was simple: Staying fit and healthy is fun. After Barefoot and other speakers addressed a crowd in the gym and the Lady Monarchs introduced themselves one-by-one, the fun and games got underway.

Various local business and groups supported the event, including the YMCA, Master Hwang’s Tae Kwon Do, BB&T, Weis Pediatric Dentistry, Eternawell and Sleepy Hole Golf Club.

Classrooms near the gym hosted a series of different activities, while a table in the connecting hallway carried healthy snacks and drinks. The ODU sports stars happily signed autographs.

“We’re ecstatic with the turnout,” PTSA President Courtney Wolfe said, adding that Bennett’s Creek Nursery financially supported the event.

Wolfe said a little serendipity allowed her to secure the Lady Monarchs. “It was a situation where I was in the right place at the right time,” she said. “I heard coach Barefoot talk … and she said the team likes to go out into the community. I jumped on it.”

Barefoot described the benefits of working out: “I have a lot of energy, because I work out every day, and I have always worked out,” she said. “The thing about working and staying fit is you have a healthy mind.”

Herr told the crowd, “I’m going to get you up and moving and grooving,” adding, “We have a lot of these nights in elementary schools, but it’s never branched into the middle schools” — until these past two years.

“It’s bigger than last year, so let’s keep growing. The whole point of this is to come together as a group and be active … to stay positive and be fit.”