Every year, James Lee returns to his home of Belle Glade and hosts a football camp for the youth of our community. Lee is an offensive tackle with the Washington Redskins and he has a heart to give back.
On Saturday, June 9, over 150 boys and girls made their way to Glades Central High School to participate in the camp where they learned techniques to improve their footballs skills. The kids were taught by Lee, dozens of his NFL friends, and local coaches.
I’ll admit I was a little awestruck with meeting all of those NFL players – especially the ones who were former FSU players. I’ve been a FSU fan since before I could walk.
On Friday, June 8, I met Markus White, a former FSU linebacker and current linebacker with the Washington Redskins, at the Team Lee Sponsorship Appreciation Dinner and told him that I was a FSU fan. When Markus saw me on the field Saturday morning, he said, “There’s that FSU girl. You know we’re surrounded by a couple of FSU players over here.”
My eyes got big. I couldn’t wait to be meet players that I cheered for every Saturday.
Markus introduced me to Dekoda Watson and Geno Hayes – both former linebackers with the Noles and both current NFL players. Watson is with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Hayes is with the Chicago Bears.
I stood on the field and just watched. The kids ran drills, learned about routes, and practiced their blocking. It was an intense day of hands-on learning. Several of the NFL players said they saw great talent and potential in our Glades youth.
But the day wasn’t just about football.
While I was standing at Dr. Effie Grear Stadium, I had a moment of realization when I saw the interaction between a little boy and one of the NFL players.
There was a little boy about 7 years old watching the older kids throw footballs the width of the field. The little boy looked at Dekoda Watson, and asked, “Do you believe I can throw that ball all the way over there?”
Without missing a beat, Watson said, “It doesn’t matter if I believe that you can throw the ball, do YOU believe that you can throw that ball all the way over there?”
The little boy smiled big and Watson said, “Now, you have to try.”
So, the boy drew his arm back and with all of his might threw the football. It wasn’t the prettiest spiral I’d ever seen, but I’ll tell you this, it was one of the most magical throws I’d ever seen.
This boy not only believed in himself and his abilities, but also had the courage to try.
And that’s what events and days like this are all about: encouraging kids, teaching them to dream big and to believe in those dreams.
So, my question for you is this – are you getting caught up in life and forgetting what’s really important?
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have kids of your own, there is a kid in your church, your neighborhood, your school, your community that needs you and needs to be encouraged and taught to dream.
If kids can grasp that and hold on to it, their future is truly limitless.