Giving ability an Opportunity
By Andrew Coakley
FN Sports Editor
Devard Darling wants to give other Bahamian young men the kind of opportunity he's having in the sport of professional football.
He knows that the road to the NFL is a long one, but his own life speaks to the fact that although long, the road is certainly attainable and eventually leads to "the pot of gold."
Although playing pro ball may be the ultimate desire Devard has for other young Bahamian males, he knows the importance of starting from the beginning and laying a strong and firm foundation.
That's why for the past three years Devard has been making his annual trek to Freeport and Nassau to host his football camp. It is there at the camp where Devard attempts to give eager, excited youngsters the foundation that could lead them someday to the NFL.
"We strive to make a difference in the lives of each of the young people that attend our camps and help them realize that their dreams are possible," said Devard Darling, Kansas City Chiefs' Wide Receiver and Founder of As One Foundation.
The Devard Darling Football camp is set to be held this week, Monday and Tuesday at the Freeport Rugby Club Field, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Although this year's camp is shorter than the others, Devard is still looking to give the participants as much knowledge about the sport of football as he and his coaches can in two days.
"Last year, we were able to attract over 150 participants to our camp and with the best U.S. football coaches, highly recognizable NFL Football Players, and the backing of the local community, we expect this year to be even more successful."
For Devard, such success goes beyond just the number of participants, but rather actually giving one young person a chance to live that dream.
"We have a saying at the As One Foundation which says 'ability without opportunity is a curse,' and so we want to provide the opportunity for some of these kids who may have the ability," said Devard.
"But its not just enough to have the ability, but they have to get that opportunity for coaches to see that ability and give them a chance."
All participants will receive free gifts and equipment, instruction by some of the best U.S and local football coaches in the game and a once-in-a-lifetime experience to meet and receive autographs from NFL Players.
Of the coaches scheduled to attend, the most notable include; Coach Robin Kirk, Head Football Coach for St. Pius X High School in Houston, Texas and coach of Freeport's own Rico Forbes, Defensive End out of Bishop Michael Eldon High; and Coach and 4x400m Olympic medallist Dennis Darling, Head Track & Field Coach for University of Texas Pan America.
While gaining invaluable skills and training in the game of American Football, camp attendees will also be vying for the title of Camp MVP. Camp MVP will be judged by participation in all activities, daily attendance and punctuality, respect for coaches and administrators, athletic ability or improvement and a desire to learn the game.
The chosen honoree and one parent will receive a fully paid trip to Kansas City, Missouri during the 2008 NFL season to spend the weekend with Devard Darling and his family.
The trip will include hotel accommodations, ground transportation, dinner, two sideline passes and tickets to a Kansas City Chiefs game.
© 2008 The Freeport News