Track and field competition caps year of new after school sports for thousands of Sacramento kids
Mayor Darrell Steinberg Tuesday helped kick off the final day of the inaugural “STRIDE Olympics” track and field competition for more than 1,000 sixth graders from Sacramento City Unified School District.
The competition was held over four days at four different Sacramento high schools, culminating in Tuesday’s final event at John F. Kennedy High School. It capped a year of new after-school sports programs offered by the district in partnership with the City’s Youth, Parks & Community Enrichment Department and the Sacramento Running Association.
More than 12,000 students in grades 1-6 participated in the running program at schools throughout the district. High school interns from Mayor Steinberg’s Thousand Strong program served as coaches.
In addition to the running program, more than 850 elementary students participated in after-school basketball, and 1,200 in flag football.
“Lifelong friendships are forged through sports,” said Mayor Steinberg, who still gets together with friends from his childhood T-ball team. “Not only is it important to incorporate healthy habits when you’re young, but you’ll make some of the best memories of your life on this field.”
Research shows that extracurricular sports not only promote teamwork, responsibility and a sense of community, but they also boost school attendance, academic success and aspirations for continuing education past high school.
Tina Nowack, a coach and PE teacher at Genevieve Didion K-8, said the new after-school sports get kids out of the house and away from electronics.
“It helps them not only to be active but to actually enjoy physical activity by doing it with their friends in a fun environment,” she said.