[UPDATE: As it turns out, the Patriots weren't at fault for disappointing any students. The New England Dairy Council, which also sponsored the event, is taking the full blame for the miscommunication. Gary Wheelock, the group's CEO, has apologized for the error, saying that they never meant to imply that actual players would show up. The videotape was the plan all along, but that got lost somewhere along the way.
Wheelock also said that the group will try to make amends to the kids, who took the whole thing in stride, as noted in the original post below. Wheelock also apologized to the Patriots for subjecting them to negative press.
That certainly includes this blog post, so I owe an apology, too, to the Patriots and their fans. I am very sorry.
A bunch of kids at Lebanon Middle School in Connecticut got fired up to participate in the NFL's "Fuel Up to Play 60" program -- more than half of the kids at the school, in fact.
And because their participation rate was so high, they thought they won the right to have some real, actual New England Patriots come to their school. I imagine the youngsters thought they'd be mingling with Tom Brady(notes), Randy Moss(notes), Wes Welker(notes) ... at the very least, a Tully Banta-Cain(notes) or a Julian Edelman(notes).
Nope. They got an intern. He brought some exercise videos. Enjoy, kids!
The Fuel up to Play 60 Web site stated if enough students participated in the program, they would be rewarded with a gym session complete with New England Patriots, said [health and physical education teacher Alyssa] Fabry. The students ended up with one of the highest participation rates in the state.
Instead, the hour featured a registered dietitian giving them tips on healthy eating and a communications intern from the New England Patriots playing kickboxing workout videos.
“The event was fun,” said seventh-grader Tom Bergamo, who won a (Patriot’s running back) Fred Taylor(notes) jersey for being the most dedicated student to the program. “But I was hoping to see a Patriot. I even brought pens and notebooks so I could get autographs.”
The kids seemed to take it in stride, though.
"I thought it was fun,” student Levi Duharme said. "I like the videos; they were cool."
Well, it probably still beats science class. The young fellow is being a better sport about it than I would've been.
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- Gary Wheelock
- New England Patriots