Tuesday, July 19, 2016
A couple of weeks ago Jaden and Brandon both had the opportunity to attend a half-day football skills camp at Cedar Falls High School put on by former UNI Panthers and current NFL players, David Johnson and Deiondre Hall.
This was an incredibly cool opportunity for all kids in our area. David was a rookie running back for the Arizona Cardinals last year and has already become a star in the NFL and a top-10 fantasy draft pick for the upcoming season. Deiondre was just drafted by the Chicago Bears this spring, and we're looking forward to seeing his contributions on Sundays this upcoming football season.
The camp was announced on social media one evening in June and sold out immediately. I was so glad that we were able to hear about it immediately and get signed up very quickly. The $15 price per child was a STEAL for an event like this.
I knew I didn't need to ask Jaden if he'd want to attend, but I was so impressed and proud of Brandon for saying yes without any hesitation. He's trying so many new things this year. A four-day basketball camp, his first baseball season coming up - and a four-hour football camp! Definitely all things outside of his comfort zone, but he's such a brave little boy.
I dropped the boys off for the Friday morning camp and had to leave for the first half to go get some work done. By the time I got back, Jaden was working out with an old friend of mine and former UNI running back, Terrance Freeney - whom I hadn't seen since graduation - and Brandon was asking his coach if he could go to the bathroom for probably the third time. ;)
However, David himself hadn't even gotten to their two age groups yet and so I was grateful to show up just in time to see him working out with both my kids. David is such a humble, genuine and down-to-earth person, and knowing his new wife Megan personally, I know that there isn't a better athletic role model for our kids. I'm so impressed and grateful for his desire to come back and put on a camp like this. I know he sees it as a way to give back, and I also know that he has plans to come back and do it again in the future!
The other thing I noticed, and something that Megan also praised as she was sitting there watching the camp, is how normal our kids acted around these two football stars - and the cameras! There were so many news channels there the entire time, but neither one of our boys seemed phased or distracted by it. It was funny to watch Brandon give David a normal and nonchalant high-five as though he was just any other person at the camp - and neat to see Jaden remain so focused on the football drills themselves. Though of course Jaden was excited to learn some football moves from these pro-athletes, that was really just the cherry on top. His main concern was getting to play some football.
This picture below is one of my absolute favorites. Not star-struck one bit. Taking a hand-off from David Johnson, who already has his gear in the NFL Hall of Fame, but look at that focus. I ended up sharing this picture on my Twitter account, and within an hour it was getting shared by NFL sites and other national football Twitter accounts. This boy is passionate!
What a cool experience for everyone. We can't wait to see these guys in action on our TV's this Fall!