If there’s one thing I am more than grateful for, it’s that hunger is something my children think about only when they haven’t taken a snack to soccer practice. We’re complacent about food, so I was astonished to discover that, according to USDA and Census Bureau data, more children go hungry in this country than there are people in Pennsylvania.
This weekend, coaches from the UVA athletics department and others will be teaming up with the hunger relief organization Save Our Strength to host the first-of-its-kind “Taste of the Game” to help alleviate some of Charlottesville’s hunger problem. Like its sister benefit event “Taste of the Nation” in which local restaurants and chefs get together to raise money for hunger relief programs, Taste of the Game brings colleges and coaches into the effort to help kids get the food they need to stay healthy and succeed in classrooms as well as on the playing field.
Twelve coaches and sports professionals are joining forces in this one-day total sports event to offer aspiring young athletes and their parents a leg up on the game. In a series of hour-long sessions designed for youth ages 8–14, kids can work on game fundamentals, technique, and strategy with folks like baseball coach Dennis Womack and men’s soccer coach Craig Reynolds. Other sports include swimming, softball, women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, tennis, and field hockey.
Parents can get involved in sessions such as sports photography, where they can learn how to take better action shots of their kids from the pros at the Daily Progress and Channel 29. Local sportscasters Mac McDonald, Steven Trout, and Andrew Yoyner will lead a behind-the-scenes multi-media tour of sports reporting. Sessions in sports psychology, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and sports medicine are also on the roster. Olympic swimming medal winner and UVA senior Ed Moses will also be on hand as the special guest for the day.
It’s a credit to our community that UVA was selected as the prototype school to host the kickoff of a national series that includes Duke, Notre Dame, and Stanford University.
“UVA is recognized as having a top-notch sports program, and Charlottesville has a reputation for supporting this kind of benefit effort,” says Virginia Harris Peale, public relations director for Yves Delorme. Peale’s company, along with Rugged Wearhouse, Whole Foods, and other local businesses, is sponsoring the event so the local hunger relief programs of the Thomas Jefferson Area Food Bank and MACAA will receive 100 percent of the proceeds of the event.
Taste of the Game takes place May 5 from 12:30 to 6pm with a family picnic at 5pm. The afternoon starts off at Memorial Gym with registration; from there participants will be directed to the various venues. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the UVA Athletic Department ticket office, Greenberry’s at Barracks Road Shopping Center, Downtown Athletic at Seminole Square, Yves Delorme on the Downtown Mall, or online at www.strength.org. For more information, call 296-FOOD.