DUBLIN — It was evident at Dublin primary School on Tuesday that Cam Newton is the face of the Carolina Panthers. Luckily, an action photo of the Super Bowl quarterback was painted on the back of the Panthers’ Play60 van, which was parked behind the school during the two-hour Play60 event for students in second, third and fourth grade.
“We’re happy and blessed to have them come to our school,” said Sharon McDowell, physical education teacher at Dublin Primary. “I registered online for a chance to have them come here, and they just happened to choose us.”
Dublin Primary is one of only about 30 schools in North Carolina that will get the Play60 event during the off-season.
The Play60 van was packed to the brim with football-related items that were set up into eight stations for the students to rotate around. Each of the stations were football drills similar to those used by NFL teams during practice and game warmups.
West Bladen High Dream Team was tasked with getting the eight stations set up Tuesday morning, and then spent time running the stations when the students came out.
“They (the students) are excited because it’s the Panthers,” McDowell said.
Throughout the morning, there were numerous shouts of “Where’s Cam?” from the students. A few asked about Luke Kuechly and one asked about Josh Norman. But aside from the likeness of Newton on the back of the van, there was no Newton sighting.
Because it’s the off-season for the NFL, none of the Panthers players, coaches or training staff attended the Play60 event. Instead, only two Panthers employees who run the Play60 mini camps were there.
Still, the energy and excitement from the students was palpable as they made the rounds through the eight stations. Although the heat of the day sapped a little of the adrenaline as the morning wound down, the students still had fun and were delighted when they each received a Play60 T-shirt.
“Everything is fun,” said third-grader Scott Parnell. “And I like the Panthers.”
Play60 also received praise from McDowell.
“This is a good program,” she said. “It promotes exercise for the kids, all of it geared toward fun, and it’s great the NFL and Panthers are part of it.”
More than 100 students at Dublin Primary participated in the event.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.