Charlotte Christian football player Clay Bryant lined up under center, took the snap and dropped back to pass.
Almost immediately, he was surrounded by a sea of red-shirted defenders.
Bryant heaved the ball downfield, right into the hands of another red-shirted defender. However, Bryant, normally a linebacker and fullback with the Knights, didn’t throw the interception during a regular-season game, or even a summer scrimmage at practice.
The interception came during a touch football game with 8-through-10-year-old campers at a summer program run by Progressive Baptist Church at the Arbor Glen Outreach Center in south Charlotte.
“They asked us to come over and play with the kids a little bit, and just serve the community,” said Jason Estep, Charlotte Christian’s varsity head coach.
The summer camp visit was not a first for the Knights. As part of the team’s summer conditioning program the past several years, Estep has the players taking part in community service projects.
“It’s a yearly thing for us,” Estep said. “One of the things we try to do at Charlotte Christian as part of our witness is to get out and serve the community.
“That’s one thing we try to do, to put our kids in situations where they can give back the blessings they’ve been given.”
Over the past nine seasons since Estep took over the Knights’ football program, the summer outreach program has taken Charlotte Christian’s players to some of Charlotte’s poorest neighborhoods.
“We’ve done everything from homeless kitchens to mission trips, to things like this,” Estep said, referring to Progressive Baptist’s summer camp, which has more than150 children. “It’s kinda part of our DNA, part of who we are.
“We definitely would like to do it more. This is the end of our summer conditioning, so we took a day off from that to hang out with these kids and have some fun.”
The players say they enjoy the summer projects.
“I’ve been doing this since seventh grade, since I’ve been a part of the football program,” said senior Beau Snuggs. “It’s a nice break from football, but we also get to serve the kids and have a fun time.
“I look forward to doing this every year, because we love serving the kids. We don’t get to see this every day, so it’s an eye opener. It humbles us. It brings us back down to Earth, so we don’t get too high on ourselves.”
Senior Bryden Reed said “We’re completely clouded. Every day, all we’re thinking about is football, and sometimes just ourselves. It’s nice to come out here and hang out with these kids. We see the smiles on their faces, and just have an awesome time.
“No matter where you come from, you can have a good time no matter what. No matter what your background is, you always have a chance to give back. It’s a great time to bond with your team, and to understand that we’re blessed. Coming here really humbles you.”
That, Estep said, is the ultimate goal of Charlotte Christian’s outreach program.
“We talk about this all the time,” Estep said. “God has blessed all of us, and it’s our responsibility to give back... It’s just part of what we preach. Hopefully, they can be able to take that when they graduate from Charlotte Christian, and apply it to their life.”
Bill Kiser is a freelance writer: email@example.com