It was a warm breezy Saturday in Pearland, Texas, a growing suburban community south of Houston. The smell of freshly cut grass and the air of nervous excitement filled the air. On the home turf of the 2010 State Champion Pearland High School Oilers stood 300 anxious male and female students ages 7 through 14 waiting to take cues from ProBowl running back Arian Foster and company. With hearts as big as Texas, the participants at the first annual Arian Foster ProCamps event gave their all in various skills stations where they were taught by former NFL players, top area coaches, and Arian Foster himself. Choosing to be an active role model, Foster ran drills with the participants, provided helpful tips, and reminded everyone to keep it light. When asked what lesson he hoped the students would take away from the camp, Foster simply stated, “to smile,” grinning from ear to ear as he recalled an experience he had with a camper whose skills were driven entirely by that camper’s positive attitude.
Parents hung onto the bleacher rails holding still and video cameras, not so much focused on the caliber of talent that offered their tutelage for the day, nor on the spotlight athlete with the noticeable red shorts, but focused entirely on their children and their activity on the field. The field was saturated with a sold-out crowd of participants whose energy felt much like that in Reliant Stadium on a Sunday. Not so much because of the opportunity to rub shoulders with Foster and his crew, but because of the opportunity to do what most well-bred Texas children do – enjoy football.
ProCamps sponsored an incredible event, planned to perfection, and which was appreciated by participants and parents alike. ”I was really impressed with how the ProCamp was so well run. They obviously had their act together, and it made the weekend so enjoyable,” said Mattia Maldonado, proud mother of 13 year old participant Charlie Maldonado, a local wide receiver for Pearland Junior High School South. Splitting the students up by age group, ProCamps event planners organized 30 separate sections running the length of the field. Popular music blazed on the loud speaker as the event emcee encouraged coaches and students alike to give their all. Each student rotated through various stations, learning the art of blocking, passing, scrambling, and receiving, among other things, spending five minutes at each area before running full speed with their age group to the next area. Each day ended with various scrimmages of two-hand tag between students of similar ages.
Showing that he was completely dedicated to the participants and nothing else, Foster spent mere minutes with the media, offering his thoughts on the day’s event. Foster spoke with pride about the ability to both encourage and be encouraged and inspired by the students. Foster tackled questions about the loss of Junior Seau and the NFL Draft saying that, “Seau was a staple in San Diego and reminds everyone that players are human too,” and “I don’t watch the draft much, but congratulate the guys who will join the team,” respectively. Regarding the NFL Draft and the Houston Texans’ picks, Foster went further to say that the addition of new players “always means someone has to go which is bittersweet.” Ever the champion, however, Foster made sure to focus most of his questions and attention on the day’s events at hand.
Hurrying off from the press conference, Foster joined a group of 8 year old players who quickly asked Foster, “why did you trade Jacoby Jones?” Foster smirked and said, “that wasn’t me, that was my bosses.” He didn’t seem at all bothered by the students’ intellectual curiosity as they peppered him with questions about the ProBowl, playing with Matt Schaub, and other things. He did politely yet directly refocus the group’s energy by asking, “hey, do you guys know as much about your math homework as you do about the NFL?” Just another key lesson learned on the gridiron.
Overall, the event was a smashing success. Thanks to ProCamps and Arian Foster and company, somewhere in Greater Houston, there is a young girl or boy who is not only dreaming of how to throw the perfect pass or catch the perfectly spiraled football, but they are also dreaming of one day playing like local hero Arian Foster…and doing their math homework.
There are several camps with exciting players coming up in the next few weeks, including Ben Roethlisberger, Clay Matthews, Matt Ryan, Justin Tuck, and Ndamukong Suh. Receive $20 off of any camp registration when you enter “HerGameLife” at checkout.