Football met futbol on Friday at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, where Redskins players, kids and alumni got to play and learn a little more about both sports.
"It was just a great opportunity to be out here and have fun with these kids and show them how to play," said quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Four hundred kids wove through an obstacle course, played on a soccer pitch and threw passes with the Redskins quarterback as the Reagan Building Atrium turned into an all-out celebration of the National Day of Sport.
An annual celebration in Qatar, the National Day of Sport is an event meant to encourage and support youth involvement in sport. The Redskins Charitable Foundation, D.C. United, the Washington Spirit and the Embassy came together to teach kids about soccer, football and Qatari culture.
"It's cool that, with the Redskins being a major global brand, they can team up with a country that has a national sports day," said kicker Dustin Hopkins. "It's awesome."
Students from Whittier Education Campus, Aiton Elementary School, Plummer Elementary School, Excel Academy and Bunker Hill Elementary School in Washington, D.C. rotated through five stations and spent about 10 minutes going through drills, kicking field goals and throwing passes. The stations included a soccer pitch, a spot for kids to kick a velcro soccer ball at a giant dart board, an NFL Play 60 obstacle course, an inflatable field goal kick and a place for kids to throw passes through targets.
All the while, kids got the chance to be around Redskins players and alumni, which was fun for everyone.
"I think it's great," said former Redskins running back Brian Mitchell. "We all seem to want to get kids moving a little bit more. It's great that the mindset is about getting kids involved and also enhancing them a little bit."
Hopkins, who worked with some of the kids on the obstacle course, said he wanted to give them an experience they will remember.
"Just doing drills and goofing around with them. They're trying to beat me, and I'm trying to do front flips on the mat. It's a very cool, different kind of thing I'm sure they don't get to do every day."
The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation partnered with the Embassy of Qatar and D.C. United to hold the Qatar National Day of Sport event at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Over 500 elementary school students from DC Public Schools participated in the event which featured physical activity stations and a tour of the National Children's Museum.
Kids also had the opportunity to discover Qatari culture through a special exhibit containing virtual reality headsets that simulate the inside of Lusail Stadium, one of the exciting venues being built to host the 2022 World Cup, a Traditional Qatari Expo and play station with Qatar American Institute, an Arabic learning station with Qatar Foundation International and a cultural items showcase. Students also had the opportunity for a sneak peek inside the new National Children's Museum, which is slated to open this Spring.
In the Oculus above the Atrium, people like His Excellency and Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United States Meshal Bin Hamad Al Thani and Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke to current and former members of Congress, representatives from D.C. United, the Washington Spirit and the various Redskins players and alumni.
"We couldn't be more thrilled to concentrate today on our children," Bowser said. "While we have made considerable investments in professional sports, I daresay we have made equal and better investments in our elementary schools, middle schools and high school sports teams."
The Embassy also donated $150,000 in support of the Redskins Charitable Foundation's health and wellness programs. It's a step in the right direction and shows how much can be accomplished by coming together in the interest of teaching kids about the benefit of sports.
"It's unbelievable," Mitchell said. "Kids today, they get to learn a lot of stuff. But when they see people from the area ... supporting them and showing them things, it provides a little more."