Despite wearing a boot on her broken foot, Sophia Lemon, 10, was running, passing and catching the ball just like the other 149 players, rising kindergarteners to eighth-graders, who attended the Charlotte 49ers Youth Football Clinic on May 28.
Sophia said it was difficult to stay active with the boot on her foot, but “it is worth it to be able to be out here having fun. I love this and I want to play football this fall,” she said as she hurried to the next drill.
Nick Konawalik, assistant athletics director for marketing for Charlotte 49ers Athletics, said the football team has been looking for opportunities that allow the players to connect with the community.
“We have taken the team to events, where they could meet people in the community, but this is our first clinic,” he said.
About two dozen members of the 49ers football team gathered at Prosperity Park in the Highland Creek subdivision to guide the athletes through six position drills: quarterback, linebacker, defensive back, wide receiver, offensive line and defensive line.
The participants tried their best at each drill station, gaining advice from players like quarterback Matt Johnson, before moving to the next station with their age group.
Wide receiver Workpeh Kofa, who played at Independence High School, was trying to explain the importance of not dropping the ball.
“Treat the football like ice cream,” he said. “You wouldn’t want to drop your ice cream on the ground, would you? It’s the same with the football.”
When one child responded, “But I don’t like ice cream,” the group erupted into laughter.
Confidence building and fun was the theme, as “good job, nice catch and nice try” echoed along with laughter across the field at Prosperity Park in the Highland Creek community.
The clinic ended with a pizza party and autograph session, giving the aspiring players a chance to spend more time with the accomplished college athletes.
Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org