Super Bowl XLVIII officially ended the 2013 NFL season. But as some New York City students learned this week, football fun continues all year long.
On Monday, 60 kids from P.S./I.S. 218 Rafael Hernandez Dual Language Magnet School in the Bronx participated in football-inspired activities like football tossing, sprints, and push-up hockey. They also had the perfect personal trainer: New York Giants wide receiver and Super Bowl XLVI champion Victor Cruz.
Cruz is known for celebrating touchdowns by salsa dancing in the end zone. He did a lot of that in his breakout season, scoring nine touchdowns and winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2011. He told the kids it’s OK to celebrate, but that they have to value a good work ethic, too.
"The job is never done," Cruz told the kids. "Enjoy the moment of victory, but you have to continue to work hard and stay active in order to achieve your dreams."
The event at Rafael Hernandez Dual Language Magnet School was sponsored by Nike and kicked off the company’s partnership with the New York City Mayor's Office and the New York City Department of Education to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. Nike also announced a $1 million dollar grant that will help boost learning and physical activities in more than 150 New York City schools.
The partnership not only provides financial support to NYC schools, it also gives students access to athletes like Cruz.
"The look on their faces when you get to interact with them and give them high fives, it's great," Cruz said. "Being active and playing sports really helped me as a kid, so I'm just happy to be here and encourage kids to stay active and do their best."
After the event, he shared his top three favorite moments from Sunday's Super Bowl with Sports Illustrated Kids. Cruz, a New Jersey native, didn't mention Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath's flashy fur coat or Bruno Mars's electrifying half time show among his memorable moments, but he did point out the big plays on the gridiron.
Seeing the game played at MetLife Stadium. In my lifetime, there hasn't been a Super Bowl played in my backyard, until now. It was amazing to see all of the people come out from around the world to see the big game in New Jersey, my home state.
Percy Harvin's kick return to open up the third quarter. I'm really happy for that guy. He's battled injuries this season. To come out in the Super Bowl and play that well, that's pretty cool.
The interception return was another favorite moment of mine. It was a such a game changer and Seattle’s defense has been playing terrific all season long. I didn't have the Seahawks winning. I had Denver winning, but obviously Seattle had other plans. I'm happy for them.
Photos: Courtesy Nike, Jamie Squire/Getty Images