School Visits

Titans players visit with students at Metro Nashville Nashville schools each Tuesday during football season.
It's no secret that thousands of area youth cheer for the Titans every Sunday. But for many area students, the chance to meet some of their gridiron heroes during the school week is something both unexpected and a day they will never forget.

In 2008, the Titans once again made a significant impact in the local community through their "Titans Tuesdays" program. Each Tuesday during the season, students from a Nashville area school were treated to a surprise assembly featuring a player from their favorite team.

Titans players such as David Thornton, Chris Hope, Donnie Nickey, Vince Young, and Kevin Mawae, among many others, took time out of their busy schedules to share some of their experiences growing up and give advice to children who look up to them on a weekly basis.

"Whatever you do in life, there are going to be setbacks and disappointments. The key is if you give everything you have and do your best, then you should be proud of yourself…the victory is in the preparation," Nickey stressed to Brick Church Pike Middle School. "If you continue to work hard, pursue your dreams to the fullest and you're not afraid to fail, you can be anything you want in life. That's simply why I'm here."

As part of the assembly, Titans players also took the time out to talk about the NFL's Play 60 program and What Moves U campaign in conjunction with the American Heart Association. The Play 60 program encourages students to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day in an effort to fight childhood obesity.

"My generation didn't have PlayStation's and Xbox's so I was always outside playing and exercising," Mawae said to the students of McMurray Middle School. "I challenge all of you to go out and exercise as much as you can because life isn't about sitting on your couch playing Xbox."

One of the underlying themes throughout the program was the importance of students staying in school and giving it their all in the classroom. When safety Chris Hope visited Goodlettsville Middle School and raised the parallel that his studying was just like their studying, the students were all ears.

"We have to study and learn plays just like you do," said Hope. "Our playbook is about the same size as a large phone book and we have to memorize and study those plays for our test on Sundays. By focusing on academics, what you guys are doing is preparing for your future and starting good habits now."

The weekly assembly was never known about beforehand. Students were called down to a surprise assembly, not knowing what was about to happen. When they caught the glimpse of their Titan heroes, that anxiety turned into exhilaration and into a moment many will remember for a lifetime.

In addition to visiting area middle schools, "Titan Tuesdays" also consisted of visits to local hospitals and community centers. The reception was the same no matter where the players went, as many were overwhelmed by the opportunity to meet the players they cheer for on Sunday afternoons.

"The kids thought the visit was awesome," said Principal Downey of DuPont Hadley Middle School in Old Hickory, TN. "It was the topic of discussion the entire day. From an educator's standpoint, we speak to students every day about making positive choices. Michael (Griffin) reiterated that message and let them know that they can be whatever they strive for in life if they make positive choices."

While many may think being a professional athlete is a fun, relaxing career, it is actually extremely demanding and time consuming. Most players typically have only one day off during the week, usually on Tuesdays. So for Titans players to volunteer spending their day off at schools, hospitals and other community events shows the level of commitment these players have to the Titans organization as well as the Nashville community.

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