On Tuesday, December 2, San Francisco 49ers Vernon Davis woke up on his day off, got dressed, and headed to seven year-old Omar Navarro's home in Sunnyvale, the lucky winner of the NFL's Take a Player to School sweepstakes.
Omar's mother, Laura, entered him into the sweepstakes for the ultimate show and tell - a chance to take a local NFL player to school and participate and plan gym class as a part of NFL Play 60, the league wide youth health and fitness campaign. Luckily for Omar, he won the sweepstakes and Davis showed up at his door Tuesday morning at 8:05 a.m. to take him to Fairwood Elementary School. As if arriving to school with a 49ers player wasn't impressive enough, Omar and Davis rode in luxury, arriving in a stretch limo with a police escort, courtesy of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.
Once at school, Omar walked Davis into their auditorium where 265 elementary students awaited his arrival. Principal Jason Medina introduced Omar, who then in turn introduced the starting tight end to his entire school, a moment he will never forget.
Davis knows the importance of something like this in a child's life, which is one of the main reasons why he took time during his day off to take Omar to school and give him this chance of a lifetime.
"They really appreciate it, it means a lot to them," said Davis. "I just have to think back to when I was younger and you always wanted something like this to happen. Things don't happen like this because people don't have the access and it's hard to reach out to someone who does what I do."
Davis continued saying, "For me, it means a lot to be able to do something like this because you never know whose heart you can touch during that time."
Davis clearly touched the hearts of many on Tuesday, from the parents and teachers, to the students who enjoyed asking the tight end questions during the school assembly, to the group of students who were able to interact with him during gym class. According to Principal Medina, Davis has the opportunity to touch the lives of many, many more.
"He may not know it, but he is also a role model to kids he will never see. How he acts and the type of behavior he exhibits, kids look up and say, 'I want to be like him.' So if it's positive, that's hopefully the way the kids will act so it's extremely important."
Davis' visit to Fairwood Elementary School is one stop throughout the country the NFL is making as a part of their Take a Player to School program to help promote their Play 60 Campaign. Thirty-three other winning students like Omar, one per each team market and two national at-large winners, will have the opportunity to ride to school with an NFL player like Davis and help lead their class through a special "Take a Player to School" gym class throughout the NFL season.
It also gives the NFL players the opportunity to discuss the importance of exercising to the youth in their area, something a stellar nutritionist and workout warrior like Davis greatly enjoyed.
"For kids to stay active is the big thing," said Davis. "It's important for them to stay active because it can do a number of things; keep them out of trouble, keep them busy, and keep them focused. It also allows them to stay fit and stay away from problems later on down the road such as heart disease or obesity."
Although Omar was eager to go ahead and get out to the playground to lead the physical education lessons he and Davis had put together, the seven-year old proved he was paying attention to Davis' speech.
When asked what he learned the most from Davis' visit to the school he replied, "Exercising is good for you and eating vegetables is good for you too."
After Davis spoke to the students about the importance of eating healthy and maintaining an active lifestyle, the students enjoyed a Q&A session with the tight end. Throughout the Q&A, Davis revealed his age of 24, that his favorite subject in school was science, that his grandmother was the person he looks up to most in life, and that Jerry Rice was his favorite player growing up as a child.