Houston Dynamo defender Anthony Arena has partnered with Let's Play, a Dr. Pepper Snapple Group led endeavor, to get kids outside and active. The event, Let's Play Houston, will try and galvanize the community into living healthier lifestyles which means exercise and getting outdoors to play.
When approached by Let's Play to become involved in the event, Arena noted that it was "a no-brainer" for him to help out. He firmly believes that playing outside and being active in general is a healthy part of growing up. That's what he wants to see the most from this event - an understanding that by playing, even for a short while, makes a big difference both physically and mentally in one's well-being.
Arena acknowledged the difficulty in getting kids to go outside these days and had a one word answer to why: technology. He went on to suggest that while technology has its place and does plenty of good in the world, an unintended consequence of our increased reliance on it is that it begins to take the place of our time spent outside.
For Arena, being active while growing up was pretty easy, despite growing up in rainy Washington State. "We didn't text" he said. He knew where to go play basketball or play based on where there were a lot of bikes lying around. These days, he noted, it's more important than ever that parents also get involved in being active. "Kids' first role models are their parents", he said, so by being active around ones' kids really leaves a strong impression.
In a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by movies, video games, iPads, and other gadgets, it's easy to forget the world around us. Let's Play, and many other organizations like it are trying more than ever before to remind us of that simple fact. Whether it's riding a bike, playing basketball or soccer, or bouncing up and down in a bounce house, just a little bit of time spent outdoors goes a long way towards a healthier lifestyle.
Let's Play Houston will be hosted this Saturday, November the 8th from 12:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. at Calvert Elementary School and will be "a celebration of playing" according to Arena. That morning Let's Play representatives, with non-profit partner KaBoom! and other volunteers, are constructing a playground from the ground up at Calvert Elementary.
The afternoon will be when the fun starts. Bounce houses, obstacle courses, and face painting will be out in full force along with getting to meet, greet, and take pictures with Arena. In addition to the event, Let's Play and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group also teamed up with Good Sports to help donate over $50,000 worth of sports equipment to Houston-area schools.