Opinion: President Obama plays tennis and basketball, reads to children during annual White House Easter Egg Roll


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The Obama family hosted the Easter Egg Roll at the White House on Monday. Special moments at the 133rd annual event included Colbie Caillat of Malibu singing the national anthem, basketball trickery from the Harlem Globetrotters, and a reading from Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. First Lady Michelle Obama made crepes with chef Jacques Pepin and morning TV personalities Al Roker and Kelly Ripa.

President Obama and the first lady also took time to read the children’s book ‘Chicka Chicka Boom Boom’ to some of the youngsters in attendance.


The White House expected about 30,000 visitors to participate in the egg roll on the South Lawn. The theme this year was ‘Get Up And Go,’ dovetailing with the first lady’s ‘Let’s Move’ initiative to curb childhood obesity and inspire healthy behaviors and exercise.

‘The theme is ‘Get up and Go,’ because as you know, I’m a big proponent of getting up and going, making sure we’re moving and eating healthy,’ she said. ‘And this Easter Egg Roll reflects all of that, so while you’re here, in addition to listening to some great music and dancing a little bit, you can roll your eggs. You can do some yoga. You can play with some -- do some obstacle course, play basketball and tennis. We’ve got some wonderful storytellers over at Storytime Stage,’ she said.

The South Lawn has hosted the egg roll since in 1878, during Rutherford B. Hayes’ term. President Madison‘s wife, Dolley, launched the event in 1814 at the Capitol. Several factors have canceled the event over the years, including bad weather and war. Congress even passed a law in 1876 to forbid the Capitol grounds from being used as a children’s playground, which is one reason the egg roll now takes place at the White House.


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-- Tony Pierce

Upper photo: President Obama hits a ball between his legs Monday while playing tennis at the annual Easter Egg Roll at the White House. Credit: Jim Young / Reuters

Lower photo: President Obama shoots a basketball while participating in a ‘Let’s Move’ clinic with members of the NBA, WNBA and the Harlem Globetrotters. Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images