By Curtis Egan
<em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>
<div class="alignright"><a href="http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z273/concudan/100_1949.jpg"><img class=" " title="Philip Rivers instructs while youngsters listen on." src="http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z273/concudan/100_1949.jpg" alt="" width="258" height="194" /></a></div>
The skies were gray in La Jolla California on the morning of Julyy 10, 2010, but the smiles on the faces of the children between the ages of 8 and 14 were as bright as a Caribbean sun. These children and their families gathered at the beautiful campus of UCSD in La Jolla California to attend the first ever Philip Rivers football camp for kids.
Football was the overt reason that everyone gathered on the beautiful morning with a nice breeze coming of the Pacific Ocean just a few blocks away. However the camp was also to raise awareness and funds for the Rivers of Hope Foundation. The Rivers of Hope Foundation was created to help unwanted, abandoned and orphaned children find permanent loving homes and their own sense of self-worth by developing and coordinating resources and programs to create community awareness, recruit adoptive families, provide financial aid for adoption and assistance for foster children and orphans. (<a href="http://riversofhopefoundation.com" target="_blank">http://riversofhopefoundation.com</a>)
Before the beginning of the event the children were throwing footballs and enjoying the morning. Boys and girls having fun with one another, all eager to meet the two time pro bowl Quarterback of the San Diego Chargers.
One thing that has become a staple of the San Diego Chargers of later is high character players who help out the community and are down to earth. Philip Rivers did not break this mold, no in fact he reinforced it, showing up more than two hours before the event to help make sure that the day went off without a hitch and that the children got a quality event they would remember and it would be a character building experience for them.
As things got organized the children were divided up into different age groups and began warming up. Philip Rivers wasted no time in jumping in and throwing passes to the kids, cheering them on and high fiving them. He genuinely enjoyed being able to work with the children. In fact at times the smile he was sporting and his enthusiasm made him seem like the biggest kid out there, but the children responded to him. Not only because he is the star Quarterback with a career passer rating of over 95 % (second in NFL), but because of his spirit and enthusiasm.
The activities started at 9am, the drills, registration and draft of teams was over by 9:30 and the day's events were underway. Philip Rivers and the camp director kicked things off introducing the numerous local High School and College coaches who volunteered their time to help the children at the camp. Poway High School, San Diego High School as well as other were represented. By 10am the core drills were underway, these included the 3 step drop drill, the hand off drill and the roll out. Rivers joked with the kids about his throwing style, saying that while his was not the way other coaches would teach them to pass the ball, that none the less it worked for him. During the handoff drills he commented on how important the hand off was and spoke about the quality of running backs he has had behind him with the Chargers, giving some respect the LaDainina Tomlinson who departed the shores of San Diego to be a New York Jet in the off season.
Once the kids were back out in their teams working on what they had been shown by â€˜Coach' Rivers, the â€˜Coach' eagerly jumped in again and played with the kids. I believe by the end of the day a majority of the kids got a high five or encouragement from â€˜Coach' Rivers.
Philip also took time to speak to the local media, commenting on the Rivers of Hope foundation, and mentioning that he and his wife Tiffany have announced that their official charity, the Rivers of Hope Foundation, will provide a $25,000 grant to Angels Foster Family Network, a local organization that places babies and toddlers in the foster care system with loving and supportive foster families.
Angels Foster Family Network is a unique organization that is contracted by San Diego County to place babies and toddlers in quality foster care. Angels operates on the well-documented belief that early intervention can prevent a myriad of problems in later life. Angels places just one baby in a home with screened and well-trained primary caregivers to insure that secure attachment and bonding will take place-a key to later healthy development.
Graciously, Rivers took time to answer questions about the Chargers, commenting that this may be one of the most focused teams he has been part of in San Diego, and that they were hungry for a championship. He also took a question about his father, where he was asked if he is channeling his father, who was a football coach (<a href="http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=137822406236375#!/video/video.php?v=137822406236375" target="_blank">http://www.facebook.com/video/video....37822406236375</a>), with a smile on his face he answered positively that he was and saying that he would coach the way his father coached. If the way â€˜Coach' Rivers handled himself with his â€˜team' on this day was any indication Philips father was a coach who was good with his players.
Rivers also commented that his fellow players sometimes tell him that they have enough coaches (<a href="http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=137830542902228&saved#!/video/video.php?v=137830542902228" target="_blank">http://www.facebook.com/video/video....37830542902228</a>) because he is always trying to make sure things are done the right way. He commented on losing team mates in the off season, and about how the game is a business (<a href="http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000258499412&v=app_2392950137#!/video/video.php?v=137829766235639" target="_blank">http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?...37829766235639</a>). All in all Rivers appears to be ready to enter the new season and work for a fast start with one goal in mind, bring home the Lombardi.
While he did take time to speak to the media, he was soon back on the field with the kids. He finished up the day jumping from one game to another throwing passes to the kids and being a positive role model, and simply having fun out on the field.
Rivers' night will be busy, he has over 300 photos to autograph for tomorrow when the campers return for the second day of camp. The second day where more kids will get a chance to catch a pass from the Chargers star Quarterback, or possibly even win autographed jerseys with the number 17 on it. Regardless the kids will be treated to a fun event with a good role model, one that every Chargers Fan can be proud of.
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