Zoran is spending the week at the little Grizzly Football Camp. I wasn't that enthusiastic about having to drive to Missoula everyday for it (I like these cheap in-town ones where the kids can just walk while I stay home and get work done!) but the camp staff is really doing a nice job with the kids. They work on different parts of the game, but the focus is really on keeping it fun. I also love how much so much of Missoula loves the football program. The collection of people running the camp is sort of a who's who of Grizzly football over the last few decades. Current players and past players and coaches, all showing up to share the game they love with all these little guys just figuring it out. These coaches and players know football and have the collection of conference and national titles to prove it. Even though they have nearly 200 kids in this younger group, they have enough help the coach to camper ratio is probably close to 5 or 6 to 1. They even have a couple doctors hanging out offering their knowledge and services in case they're needed. This morning I watched a heart surgeon sit with a little eight-year-old for about an hour, looking after him after some combination of flu and heat exhaustion had him sitting out the first day.
They set up a lot of competitions (which I like because I don't think competition and cooperation are mutually exclusive and I think help small kids learning to lose gracefully is just as valuable as any of the other skills they learn) but they really emphasize the importance of strong character, too. Zoran was so excited at the end of camp today to tell me that the coach explained to the kids that you didn't really have to be the biggest and strongest person to be a good player but one of the most important things was that you have a really big heart. "And it's true, Mom. Today we did the sit-up competition and I'm one of the smallest ones, but I won!"
At the end of the day they had the current coach talking to all the little kids and while he agreed with one of the other coaches that it was important to get all your friends involved and out playing, he thought it was probably most important to be courageous and kind and work hard every day.
Be courageous and kind and work hard every day. I don't think you can really go wrong following that advice.