Yesterday, on their lone day off from three games in four nights, Svi Mykhailiuk and Derrick White participated in salad and smoothie-making competitions at a nutrition event with youth at the Dorchester YMCA.
The event was co-hosted by the Celtics and SunLife, and was part of the “Fit to Win” initiative, a four-week program that teaches kids from participating YMCA locations in the Greater Boston area about fitness, nutrition, healthy lifestyle habits, and mindfulness.
Kids at the YMCA were split into four teams, two of which were led by White and Mykhailiuk. The teams competed to make the best smoothies and salads, and a panel of judges —including NBC 10 Host Kwani Lunis and Sun Life U.S. CFO Neil Haynes — sampled and graded each team’s final products. While the kids prepared the vegetables and blended the fruits, White and Mykhailiuk shared with them tips about healthy habits and game-day meals.
“Health and wellness are important no matter what age you are, so it’s always exciting to get out in the community and hang out with the kids as they learn about the importance of nutrition,” White said.
Mykhailiuk and White spent the competition teasing one another and making their case for why the judges to vote for them.
When Derrick White presented his team’s salad to the judges, he emphasized that the chopped apple, in particular, was “prepared with love.” In the end, his team edged out Mykhailiuk’s and won the salad-making competition. Each kid on the roster was gifted sunglasses to go along with their chefs hat.
In his postgame presser, White made sure to note his team’s win came in spite of Mykhailiuk’s team sending more than the allowed number of kids to the vegetables table.
“They sent their whole team, hogging the ingredients,” White told media.
“We just took advantage of the time,” Mykhailiuk interrupted.
“They took all the avocados,” White said. “But it’s alright, we still found a way to win. We fight through adversity.”
The Celtics and Sun Life launched the Fit to Win initiative in 2015, and since its inception, more than 2,000 kids have participated in it. Kids receive Celtics-themed prizes throughout the program; yesterday, the winning smoothie-making team was gifted Celtics beanies, while White’s team was awarded green sunglasses. They also learn nutrition and wellness habits, and complete a post-program survey to demonstrate what they’ve learned.
Both players said they enjoyed getting the chance to get out into the community on their day off.
“YMCAs everywhere are important, just to get out of the house and be able to run around, have fun, meet new people,” White said. “Having a program like this where they can learn about nutrition, hopefully they had fun with it as well, made a friend. Stuff like that is always cool.”
Mykhailiuk said it was nice to have a chance to not think about basketball for a day — the Celtics have had very few days off in an intense January schedule.
“It’s just refreshing for us, just to come here and hang out with the kids, and don’t think about basketball, and just have fun and get to know everybody and just give back to the community,” Mykhailiuk said.
Speaking of basketball, White will find out if he is an All Star later today: “It would be a great honor to make,” he said. “I haven’t put too much pressure on it because I realize if I make it it’s because the team is doing so well. I haven’t really been thinking too much, but if I make it, it would definitely be exciting and a great honor. If I don’t, I’ll just enjoy some family time.”
Svi said he made sure to use his All Star ballot to vote for White, who has become one of his closest friends on the team.
“I voted for him every time, voted for him every time,” Mykhailiuk said, laughing. “Only for him.”
And if White isn’t named to the All Star team? He’ll at least be able to say he won the Fit to Win salad-making competition.