On days the Detroit Pistons play at home, Little Caesars Arena hums with activity and anticipation before any on-court action even takes place. Behind the scenes, workers ready the arena for the hometown crowd and perform a variety of essential jobs to ensure the experience is top-notch for everyone in attendance. On Sunday, March 10, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit Pistons teamed up to offer 50 Michigan kids a once-in-a-lifetime experience to take part in the massive undertaking that goes into putting on a game. The Pistons Kids Day sweepstakes offered children a chance to go to work and do the jobs that support the Pistons on gameday. One of the lucky contest winners was six-year-old Chicago native Ryan Parker, who now resides in Canton.
Ryan Parker, 6, at the Pistons Kids Day event on March 10. “Some of my favorite players are Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin,” Ryan said. “When it got closer to the game, I was even more excited.” Ryan was excited to see what it’s like behind the scenes. Before the game started, he shadowed famous Detroit Pistons announcer John Mason and practiced announcing the lineup for the day’s game. According to his mom, Gloria Jackson, he nailed it. After saying the announcements, he recalled being a little celebrity in his section. However, at the end of the day, Ryan is indecisive about pursuing a career in announcing. Despite being recognized by other members of the crowd, he told his grandma, “I don’t know about this celebrity life.” Another favorite perk of the experience? The gift bag! He was able to receive a signed Reggie Jackson jersey and a giant poster of one of his favorite players – Andre Drummond. Pistons Kids Day, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, supports Blue Cross' ongoing commitment to children’s health through its #MIKidsCan campaign – initiatives focused on encouraging kids to adopt healthy habits and get active for at least 60 minutes every day. Over the last 14 years, Blue Cross has given more than $6.5 million in support of kids’ health and wellness initiatives across the state, reaching almost 340,000 children in more than 750 schools. For more information on Blue Cross’ ongoing efforts to help improve childhood health, visit AHealthierMichigan.org/MIKidsCan or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter. If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
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Main image photo credit: MI Blues Perspectives; Photos of Ryan courtesy of his family