Copper’s camp all fun and gamesPublished 7:18pm Saturday, June 15, 2013
A bright sun threw 90-degree spirals down on the Washington football field and created a perfect atmosphere for the 100-plus young athletes that came out to learn the fundamentals of football from 12 NFL athletes at the Terrance Copper/Washington Police and Fire Department Football Camp on Saturday.
The campers smiles stretched as wide as the pigskins they carried during the camp as they received tips from the NFL stars Dexter McCluster, Vontae Leach, Dwayne Bowe, Marvin Townes, Donald Whitehead, Mardy Gilyard, Junior Hemingway, Josh Bellamy, Shaun Draughn, Steven Baker, Jamar Newsome and of course Terrance Copper.
“I think it’s pretty impressive that they all came out here to help people out,” said Washington Pam Pack football player Baylone Guilford. “I learned how to better myself and learned better techniques for football.”
That was the goal of the camp, as Copper placed a premium on teaching the basics of the game.
“One thing we wanted to emphasize was the fundamentals,” Copper said. “When you get to the higher levels everybody has talent but sometimes their fundamentals are lacking and that’s what separates the great ones.
“The earlier you can get fundamentals into the kids that are trying participate in sports the better off they will be. It’s a key aspect in playing any sport.”
The camp featured athletes from all over Eastern N.C. as D.H. Conley’s Dashon Dixon was in attendance and said he tried to pick the brains of some of the NFL stars.
“They gave out a bunch of great tips,” Dixon said. “When I was in the DB drill they were telling us a lot of things about how to come out of your breaks faster and basically how to run. They were telling us that football is more of a mental game than physical and if you can get it down mentally it will help you physically.”
The camp featured position-specific drills as well as combine-style ones and after the camp the NFL athletes set up camp in the corner of the Washington football field and signed miniature footballs for each and every one of the fans until there were none left.
“Terrance broke them up into offense sessions and defensive sessions and then broke them down and did combine drills,” Pam Pack football coach Sport Sawyer said. “Each player was able to pick where they wanted to go and the guys worked with them.”
Sawyer coached Copper when he was a Pam Pack star and said he was extremely proud of him and his accomplishments on and off the field.
“His football career speaks for itself, he’s been in the NFL for 10 years, but what’s better is that he tries to give back to his community and he hasn’t forgotten where he came from,” Sawyer said. “It gives our players a role model that they can look up to.”
Aside from teaching young athletes about football, the camp was designed to help bond the community with the police offers that protect it and Crime Prevention/Community Outreach Manager Kimberly Grimes said it was a success.
“We wanted to show that the police and fire department workers are human outside of their jobs,” Grimes said. “(The camp) tries to help build a better relationship with the community. … It was nice to see (the NFL players) take time to give back to the community.”
The football camp was the grand finale of an NFL weekend that also featured a community cookout and an exhibition basketball game and upon conclusion of the camp Copper paid thanks to all those that helped make it happen.
“I want to thank the Washington Police Department and the Fire Department and definitely Kimberly Grimes because we could not have got this done without her and the support of the Washington Police and Fire Departments,” Copper said. “I also want to thank all the guys that came from out of town to help with my camp.”