Arlington Citizen-Journal

Rangers’ Holland makes a pitch to Arlington fifth-graders for fitness, good food choices

Rangers pitcher Derek Holland spent part of an afternoon last week in an unorthodox workout, lobbing lettuce heads at team mascot Captain, who used a corny dog for a bat.

The food-fight scenario at Rankin Elementary School was all in good fun, illustrating the triumph of healthy meals over convenience snacks during an event called the MCA All-Stars Fitness Rally.

Fifth-graders joined Holland, along with Arlington firefighters and nutrition experts from Medical Center of Arlington, in the school gym for exercise and games aimed at instilling good health habits.

“We came to get you guys out of class, for all the right reasons,” Holland told the students, who were already restless for the three-day school break about to begin.

A couple of notable announcements came along with the jumping jacks and ball relays: Holland has been elected to the board of the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, and he will match every donation to a holiday children’s fund up to a total of $10,000.

Holland’s public role will expand with his election to the foundation’s board, but he says the programs with youngsters aren’t a new experience.

“I’ve been doing this since I came here,” he said in a brief interview after the assembly. “I always try to reach out as much as I can.”

He said he welcomes the hands-on chance to help guide the work of the foundation.

“It’s something I look forward to, to add my ideas and to get involved and see where the money goes, how it helps the kids,” Holland said.

“I was from a small town (Newark, Ohio) and I didn’t get to see any of this kind of outreach,” he said of the Rankin program. “My parents did a good job of keeping me away from the video games and kicking me outside to get exercise.”

Holland also pitched a quick-hit fundraising program, called Holiday Home Run for Kids, that will raise money through the end of the year for the Rangers foundation’s efforts on behalf of disadvantaged children during the holiday season.

Donations can be made online at www.texasrangers.com/donate or by mail to Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, 1000 Ballpark Way, Suite 400, Arlington, TX 76011.

The foundation helps fund programs year-round for children’s health initiatives, education and youth baseball, as well as those in crisis situations.

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