Friday, September 28, 2012
Join world’s largest game of tag — maybe — in Garland on Saturday
GARLAND Getting fit can be as easy as child’s play. At a huge game of tag this weekend in Garland, the event called FITag may grab a world record. The organizer hopes to lure more than 1,566 participants – the Guinness Book of World Records number – to chase others as if they were on the playground.
In organizing FITag, coordinator Marcie Adame, a P.E. and health teacher at Kimberlin Academy for Excellence in Garland, was looking for a way to reach out to the community as well as appeal to her kindergarten through 5th grade students. She said the game of tag is ideal for what she was trying to accomplish – getting families up and moving together.
“The tag idea came from the inner kid in us who wants to play and tying it to the idea that fitness can be fun,” she said. “You can do that anywhere, any time. Just go out and play.”
Participants can compete in one of four tag game categories: Family, Elementary school, Middle/High school, or Team. The rules are simple: Everyone’s “it.” Adame expects a lot of strategizing, as she’s seen her Kimberlin running club kids do. People can team up to try to help “freeze” more people and make sure their alliance stays unfrozen.
FITag is the result of several initiatives coming together. Last spring, Adame received a grant as part of the Fuel Up To Play 60 program. This year, Kimberlin was chosen as one of 20 area Healthy Zone School In Training campuses. This two-tier program sponsored by the Cooper Institute in partnership with the United Way of Dallas provides funding and training for health programming and equipment. Fitnessgrams, performed twice a year under the program, measure the child’s relative fitness level based on Body Mass Index and performance in areas such as endurance, flexibility, and muscle strength.
The timing of the FITag event was important to Adame. It falls at the end of September, which is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. It also falls during the H.E.B. sponsored Community Challenge, an initiative that pits communities across Texas against each other during September and October in a battle for healthy living. Further, FITag comes at the heels of Garland’s Healthy Living Expo, a collection of exhibitors and activities that centered on health awareness, at which Adame coordinated a 5K race.
Christine Hunt, who has three children at Kimberlin and one Kimberlin graduate, says her whole family plans to participate in FITag.
“It was something fun that we could all do together and also show Marcie [Adame] that we appreciate the effort that she goes to,” Hunt said. Hunt is hoping Adame’s initiatives will lead to more physical activity opportunities in the classroom and healthier foods in the cafeteria.
The event may just turn into a gaggle of people running in circles – and in terms of physical fitness, that’s all the better. “I have no idea what to expect. But it will be fun,” Hunt said.
Garland Parks and Recreation, local youth sports associations, nutritionists, and fitness exhibitors are expected to be onsite talking about their different offerings. Participants can also learn about and take part in geocaching events sponsored by the Texas Geocaching Association.
Although a Guinness Book of World Records rep won’t be there to validate, Adame is preparing documentation in case they get anywhere near the world record for largest tag game.
“Whoever shows up, we’re just going to have fun,” said Adame.
Next month, to finish off the H.E.B. campaign, Adame is coordinating a Fright Night 5K at Audubon Park in Garland.
“I wanted to give kids a healthier alternative than trick-or-treating for Halloween,” she said.
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