Character, teamwork and an emphasis on fundamentals and excellence in the classroom were the prevailing on-and-off-the-field messages to over 110 children from the ages of 9 to 13 received from New Orleans Saints Team Ambassador Michael Lewis at his "Get In The Game" All-Star Football Clinic.
The former black and gold wide receiver and return man, who excelled from 2001-06, returning four kickoffs and punts for touchdowns and being selected to the Pro Bowl in 2002, now works for the club in a capacity where he represents them at both team and community events. However, being a native of the New Orleans area, the part of the job he truly enjoys is being able to make a positive impact with local youth.
"This camp was a great way for me to repay the community for all the support that they have given me throughout my life," said Lewis. "This was a great opportunity to teach kids about the fundamentals of the sport, while also discussing the importance of school and giving them some fun at the same time."
Following registration, an opportunity to visit Ochsner Medical Center's mobile physical education van dedicated to fighting childhood obesity and a quick snack, Lewis and Director of Youth Programs Jason Trosclair gathered the students on the artificial surface of the Saints indoor practice facility. After discussing the agenda for the clinic, both of them then discussed the importance of life skills and blending academics and athletics in their lives.
The camp began with a stretch and warm-up period on the practice field. The campers then broke out into five different position stations with coaches, including Lewis, Trosclair and former Saints safety Mel Mitchell, who now serves as defensive coordinator at McMain High School. For the next three hours, with only two five minute breaks, the children learned the nuances of the quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker and defensive back positions. Lewis then broke things up by having the kids compete in a 40-yard dash before ending the clinic with seven-on-drills.