Feb. 20, 2012
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - More than 100 local youth converged on Tennessee's indoor football complex on President's Day as UT Sport Management students hosted the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley for the Eighth Annual Punt, Pass & Kick competition inside the Neyland Thompson Sports Center.
Youth ages 8-12 from 14 Boys & Girls Clubs competed in the event which awarded first, second and third place for each age group. Every participant received a T-shirt and a ribbon.
UT sport management students who are members of the 160-member majors club Partners in Sports planned and managed the event, and several student-athletes served as mentors, signing autographs and working at each station with the youth who participated.
"The Punt, Pass & Kick event is really a benefit for all involved," said Josh Pate, a graduate assistant for Partners in Sports. "It is a wonderful opportunity for the kids with the Boys & Girls Club to get on a college campus and have fun with a great group of college students and student-athletes, and it is great for our students because it gives them a service project for a local organization. This is just one of the events that Partners in Sports manages throughout the year, and it always gets positive reviews due to the level of hands-on work for each volunteer."
The student-athlete involvement was the biggest hit for the Boys & Girls Clubs kids. Tennessee placekicker Michael Palardy spent much of his time teaching kids how to properly kick the ball, while quarterback Tyler Bray gave a few lessons in throwing accuracy at the passing station.
"It's a great feeling to be able to put smiles on little kids' faces, who grow up watching Tennessee football," Palardy said of the experience. "It's everything to them to be able to interact with some of the players. I think it does the community and me a lot of good to be able to give back to them like that."
At the end of the day, the indoor football complex echoed with a resounding, "Yes!" when the participants were asked if they had fun at the event. The smiles on their faces as they left the field spoke even louder.