Elizabethton students kick butts on Saturday

John Thompson • Mar 16, 2019 at 5:10 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A group of young people gathered at the Elizabethan Recreation Center Saturday to kick butts.

No, they weren’t members of an unbeatable sports team. They were just a bunch of kids who came together for a kickball tournament sponsored by the Youth Board of Carter County Drug Prevention.

Reece Townsend, president of the Youth Board, said the tournament is held in observance of Kick Butts Day, an annual day of youth activism sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Kick Butts Day is actually March 20, but Elizabethton kids decided to hold their event on the weekend before the national observance.

As the Kick Butts Day website says: “Every day is Kick Butts Day in the fight against Big Tobacco.”

Townsend said games were held for different age groups, and before the start of each group of games, he gathered all the participants together and told them a scary story.

He told them of the thousands of deaths caused by cigarette smoking each year in the United States. Townsend asked the kickball tournament participants if they wanted to be replacements for those who had died, or would they prefer to live their own tobacco-free life?

After Townsend spoke, the participants were given name tags to fill out, stating what they wanted to be instead of a tobacco statistic. The kindergarten students may not have been able to kick the ball out of the infield, but they all got the right answers for their name tags.

At the end of the tournament every child received a trophy and a lot of encouragement to never become a smoker.