Blugold football players return favor to community

Renee Rosenow

Everyone has heard the old story from their grandparents, saying they walked three miles uphill in the freezing cold, to school and back. Since then, everything has changed and now walking to school at a distance more than a mile is unlikely.

Longfellow Elementary School is hoping to change that trend. On Wednesday Oct. 8 they celebrated “Walk to School Day,” where children were encouraged to walk to school, take safe routes and also get some exercise. There was a little motivation for the children, as the UW-Eau Claire football team took part in the day.

At a young age, it is important to have role models. That is what the football players were on Wednesday morning as they walked to class with the children and talked with them.

Partnership and Enrichment Coordinator for Longfellow Elementary, Holly Larson, thinks the football players have a great impact on children.

“It really encourages our kids and they get such a kick out of walking with them,” Larson said.

Larson is not the only person that thinks the program is important. Head football coach Todd Glaser is also a proponent of the program. Glaser has sent his players to participate in the event since he took over as head coach back in the fall of 2006. This year the team sent more than 50 players to take part in the event.

“The community’s been very, very good to us with the fan support,” Glaser said. “. I think it’s just a way to give back to the community and I think our kids really enjoy doing it; I know the elementary kids do.”

Glaser also feels it is important to the children at the schools because they get to see the players without the pads and it helps the children realize the players are just like they are.

Larson compared the Blugolds to the Green Bay Packer players in the children’s eyes.

“For our kids it’s huge, they think these are celebrities,” Larson said. “It makes them feel important that someone has taken the time to spend a couple of minutes, especially at that time of the morning to be with them.”

With the event becoming annual, it is likely that it will continue to grow. Walking to school for children can be good in many ways, especially considering high gas prices and vehicles are causing damage to the planet. And of course, having a football team participate can never hurt the cause.