A quick change of venue due to inclement weather didn’t scare any of the hundreds of kids who showed up at Florida’s last youth football clinic on Monday,
The sidelines from the end zone to the end zone of the FSU indoor training facility were crowded with parents glued to their cameras on their phones.
Meanwhile, on the pitch, the children’s groups looked to get their best impressions of Seminole coach Mike Norvell, FSU coaching staff and a few Seminole players.
Youth clinics saw a big boom in early summer, not just along the handshake, but across the state.
According to Norvell, more than 3,000 children have attended free clinics in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Miami, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Orlando, Kissimmee, Fort Myers, Tampa, Lakeland, Pensacola and – finally – Tallahassee.
The clinics were free for grade 8 and younger youth.
âSo excited for tonight. Just being able to have this youthful experience for the kids in Tallahassee, for the area,â Norvell said ahead of the camp.
âThis is the one I was looking forward to. Going statewide and having over 3,000 kids who have had the opportunity to be coached by our staff, all wonderful interactions. But then to be able to end here. at home it’s going to be special. Our staff are excited about this, the community is excited about it. This is what it’s all about, giving back, working to have a positive impact and continuing to spread the Seminole Method . ”
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Many of those inside the indoor training facility were getting their first glimpse of the game on a Seminole pitch. Parents watching were decked out in garnet and gold, while the majority of children wore a white t-shirt with the Seminole logo taped to the front.
It was a new experience for many in attendance, but a handful of spectators were returning to their old playground.
Among the parents in the crowd was former FSU full-back and Florida star High James Coleman. Coleman was in the depths of the hustle and bustle, watching his 8-year-old son and nephew embark on a trip that Coleman hopes will lead him down the same route he took to get to Doak Campbell Campbell Stadium.
âOne of the most important things is that they’re brainwashed early with the Seminole Method,â Coleman said. “I love what Coach Norvell and these guys are doing, so I want my son to learn some good football, and what better way to bring him to my alma mater.”
According to Coleman, his son – even though it’s a decade into his future – is ready to sign his LOI at FSU and is excited to find out a little bit about what his father went through. Coleman also expressed how important it was for his son to be coached by FSU staff and to play against local children. Coleman and his son made the trip from Jacksonville to the camp.
âThe most important thing is you hear these stories and they’re so far apart, but when you see the people who were in those stories, it kind of connects the dots and it makes him yearn to sound more like what he is. was my father and to keep the family legacy, âColeman said.
“Today is even bigger because his grandparents are there, his mother and his older cousins, who attended the camps yesterday, are there. I tell him that if he wants to be fat in prime time, you gotta play when the lights are on at. “
While many parents are also fans and some, like Coleman, were former players, others were in enemy territory. When asked if they are FSU fans, Nichole Murry and Stacy Murry laughed and gave a solid “No.” Nichole, in a Florida A&M polo shirt, said her family’s loyalty, except for their 10-year-old son, was with Florida’s other orange and green Florida school: Miami.
âMy son and football brought us here,â Nichole said. “This is skills camp and it helps you get better every day.”
Despite a strange feeling of being on enemy turf, the Murrys are delighted that their son is working with coaches and college players. Stacy said it’s always great to have the opportunity to work with FSU coaches and players for their son.
Football plays a big part in the lives of many children at camp, including the Murry’s. Now playing for five years, Nichole said going to bigger camps like the one on Monday gives their son more clarity about his future in football.
âIt’s really important that he gets that kind of attention early on,â Nichole said. “It helps him determine if that’s really what he wants to do. Why not be surrounded by people who can push him to perform even better. That’s the goal. Get him out of something mediocre. and something higher. ”
The Murrys, while they may not be FSU fans, have only had a short trip to campus since they live in Tallahassee. For Ebbie Harris and her son, Seminole fans, they had to travel a few kilometers to make the trip to Tallahassee. Harris and his son made the 1.5-hour trip from Lake City to camp, with excitement beaming from both of them upon their arrival.
âHe was really excited when we got here,â Harris said. “We were really happy to see that they were running these camps this year and we really wanted to come to the one in Tallahassee. It’s going to be late when we get home tonight, but it’s worth it.”
There was a lot of excitement for Harris and his son, and many others, in the early summer of 2021, seeing more opportunities to play football open up following a drop in cases of COVID-19.
Harris said his son worries he won’t be able to play at all this summer, but the FSU camp is starting to show football is back.
âIt’s so amazing to get back to the rhythm of things,â said Harris. “He was so excited. He didn’t know if he was going to play football this summer and we are so happy that everything is opening up again.”
And it’s not the campers and parents who are excited to be back, but also those running the camp. Norvell has expressed his enthusiasm for the young players to be back on campus and playing after being unexpectedly taken a season away.
âThese kids, there were youth (sports) seasons that were taken out,â Norvell said.
âThere was so much activity (removed), some kids couldn’t be in person for school and these relationships. All the interactions they would normally have, they had to sacrifice. I’m glad we did. was able to provide a night, an experience, something unique where they get a feel for who we are and can go out and have fun playing the game they love. It was a real joy. “