49ers Host Board Game Tournament at Ronald McDonald House

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There is no questioning Eric Heitmann's, Tony Pashos' or Curtis Taylor's skills on the football field, but board games are a different story.

All three participated in a board game tournament at the Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto on Tuesday, and they admittedly got beat by the kids they faced.

"I'm going to be honest, my skills are a little bit rusty," Heitmann said during a game of Candyland. "I I haven't played this game in probably 20 years. But I think I'm starting to get the hang of it, the kids are kind of teaching me."

The event was one of the 49ers weekly Community Tuesday outings and was cosponsored by the Coca Cola Company.

Participants played some intense games of Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Monopoly Jr., Connect 4, checkers and Let's Go Fishin' for 49ers prizes including bobble heads, hats, footballs and autograph books.

But the real prize for the children was meeting the players and getting a chance to take their mind off the difficult lives many of them lead.

"We are bringing them a lot of happiness and a nice break from their usual routine of doctors and appointments," said Stephanie Olson of the Coca Cola Company. "We just wanted to allow them to have some fun, interact with the players and have a good time."

The Ronald McDonald Houses of the Bay Area have serviced more than 27,000 families with sick children, and the kids who spent time with the 49ers on Tuesday relished the opportunity.

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While Heitmann spent most of his time playing Candyland, Pashos used his outdoor skills at the Let's Go Fishin' game and Taylor got pretty serious on the checker board.

"I don't really feel like playing checkers with Curtis right now," Ronald McDonald House volunteer Matt joked. "He is pretty intimidating. He takes his checkers pretty seriously. 125-percent."

The players also joked that many of the skills they use on the football field came in very handy on the board games.

"It takes a lot of hand-eye coordination to make sure the pieces are on the right colors and some mental toughness," Heitmann said.

After the tournament, every child was given an individual award, and they couldn't stop beaming when the 49ers presented it to them.

"It is nice for them to come here and play with us," said a girl named Jaclyn, who was nicknamed the "Monopoly Maven." "I'm just excited to play with them."

Throughout the tournament, the players tried the best to quell their competitive nature, but they couldn't help trash talking each other a little bit.

"They can't beat me," Taylor said. "It's not going to happen."

After the tournament, the guys decided to settle the score with a game of Let's Go Fishin', and Pashos' practice paid off as he took home the championship.

Following the tournament, all participants, volunteers and players headed outside for a family BBQ. Heitmann and Pashos manned the grills while Taylor interacted and played with the children.

The 49ers would like to thank the Coca-Cola Company for bringing this event together and McDonald's for their donation of more than 200 pies for the families during the BBQ.

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