Kokomo — Second-grader Chloe McKay zigged and zagged through obstacles, pumped her arms in a dead sprint and dived head first into a foam dummy — tackling it to the ground.
She picked herself up, brushed strands of hair out of her eyes and ran to tell her friends all about it.
Chloe and her classmates at Taylor Primary School participated in the Colts Big Blue Football Camp Thursday at the Taylor High School football field.
“Are you ready for some football?” former Colts player Mike Prior asked the kids.
“Yeah!” they screamed in reply.
He told them to get down in an athletic stance.
“Bend the knees,” he said. “Arms out. Thumbs up.”
The students followed his lead.
He told them they were finally ready to practice some of the drills that real football players use.
The drills included the quarterback challenge, wide receiver dive for winning touchdown catch and team relays.
Losers of the team relay had to drop and do five push-ups. It’s all about being active, Prior said.
The Colts organization started hosting the camps at elementary schools free of charge nine years ago when schools were cutting physical education classes, Prior said.
He said it’s important that children get enough exercise.
“Kids are just not as active now a days,” he said. “They sit in front of a TV and play Xbox.”
On Thursday, though, Taylor Primary and Intermediate School students broke a sweat playing football.
“I try to get them moving as quick as they can,” Prior said.
The Colts alum chased kids through the obstacle courses yelling, “Move. Move. Move.”
A few little girls pranced through the drills slowly. But it was full speed ahead for Chloe.
She declared that the quarterback sack was her favorite.
The drill had students back pedal through some obstacles before running and tackling a foam dummy.
She gave a blow-by-blow to her friends afterward.
“They were yelling at me to tackle the dummy,” she said. “I got so mad, I stuck my nails out and just grabbed it. I put all of my weight into it, and I took it down.”
Chloe said she was no novice. She plays football with her dad sometimes, she said.
Prior said she’s in the minority.
Most girls tell him at the beginning of the camp that they hate football.
Those same girls come up to him at the end of the camp with eyes wide and tell him they caught their first pass ever, Prior said.
“They got a big smile on their face, grass stains on their knees,” he said.
Second-grader Gabriel Rodriguez said he thought the boys beat the girls in the football drills Thursday.
“I don’t know,” a parent volunteer told him. “We’ve got some pretty tough girls.”
Colts staff member Phil Andrews reminded the students that they are all working together.
“Be good teammates,” he said. “We’re all one, big family. I want you cheering your teammates on — picking them up.”
The kids yelled and screamed for one another.
“We’re having fun,” Gabriel said.
But it’s also an important lesson, said Taylor High School Assistant Football Coach Steve Meadows, who applied for the Colts football camp.
“It’s a reminder they need to exercise every day,” he said.
• Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, may be reached at 765-454-8585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.