By Curtis Egan
<em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>
<div class="alignright"><a href="http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z273/concudan/100_2139.jpg"><img class=" " title="Philip Rivers chats with kids during his 1st annual football camp." src="http://i195.photobucket.com/albums/z273/concudan/100_2139.jpg" alt="" width="254" height="188" /></a></div>
For the second day the skies above UCSD in La Jolla, California were gray with a cool wind coming in off of the Pacific Ocean. Kids gathered on the pristine fields awaiting the start of the second day of the inaugural Philip Rivers Football Camp, benefiting the Rivers of Hope Foundation.
Jake Nagian, a young man from San Marcos loved the scrimmages the day before. Luke who is 10 will remember catching the pass from Philip Rivers on the first day of camp. He also suggests all kids come out next year and play ball with Philip. Max MacArthur of the San Dieguito brought 25 youths and four other adults with him to camp. He was impressed with how Philip was all over the camp coaching up the kids, and his kids responded. He said that his kids had the time of their lives. He thought the camp was better than he expected for a first time camp. In the first day all the boys from the San Dieguito had received at least one pass from the two time pro bowl Quarterback of the Chargers.
The action got underway early as the kids were sent out to their teams at 9am, there they spent about 10 minutes warming up then they got grouped up and Philip addressed the assemblage of 300 kids eager to play some football. Philip seemed to be at home in amongst the boys and girls from 7 to 14. He mentioned to the kids that every day you can get worse at something, you can stay the same or get better. He encouraged the kids to get better in everything they do.
(<a href="http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000258499412&v=app_2392950137&ref=notif#%21/video/video.php?v=138092229542726" target="_blank">http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?...38092229542726</a>)
Philip then asked the kids if they thought about football the night before, and he insisted that he did. He joked that he had nightmares about the day before. He called out two kids who had intercepted him the day before, insisting it caused him to lose sleep. This brought forth a chorus of laughs and cheers from the crowd. He joked about how he likes to argue with Referees, keeping things light for the kids.
However, just like with the Chargers Philip has a team he works with, and one of his lead players at the camp is Coach Ron Humber, who is in his eighth season as the Mt. St. Joesph Lions' head coach. Huber led the program to a third straight HCAC championship last fall, as the Lions went 7-0 in conference play. The Mount became the first team in HCAC history to record three straight conference titles.
The HCAC title enabled the Lions to return to the NCAA Division III playoffs for the third straight season, as they took on Wheaton College in the first round. The Mount had 15 players selected all-conference (best in the conference), the HCAC Offensive Most Valuable Player and the HCAC Defensive co-Most Valuable Player. The Lions also had one of the top overall and rushing defenses in the nation again last season. In addition, the Mount was ranked among the top teams in 2006 in various national polls. Huber is a two-time HCAC Coach of the Year and has the most wins of any Mount football coach in program history, sporting a 41-32 record.
Huber has 25 years of coaching at the high school and college level and has been on the Mount football staff since the program's inception in 1990. Prior to becoming the third head coach in Lions' football history in 2000, Huber was a defensive position coach and spent four years as the Lions' defensive coordinator. He also coached the College's wrestling program for four seasons. During the 1999-2000 season the team garnered Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament and NCAA Division III Midwest Regional championships. Huber was named conference and regional coach of the year that season.
Coach Huber MC'ed the event, working with the kids and letting the parent know what was going on by continually working the microphone and bringing an energetic vibe to the camp. The kids responded to him as well.
The staff kept the kids busy, and entertained. The coaches worked nonstop with the kids, just as Philip did. Those who looked on from the sidelines also liked what they saw. At a point halfway through the day, the staff got the kids together to get them hydrated and go over the day's activities so far. Philip chose three kids to demonstrate the drills that they had worked on in the morning. He also took several questions from the kids, who asked some good questions. Such as how easy is it to stay cool when there is a pass rush. Rivers had some good answers and one comment he made seemed real poignant, "The best ability is dependability." He used this comment when discussing the wide receivers. He was asked if he trusted his wide receivers, he did not hesitate in saying yes, he has some good ones and it is easy to trust them. One kid then asked Philip if he would ever play for the Raiders. I believe the response was "no Chance." This again brought a quick chorus of cheers from the kids and parents alike.
Philip then chose three players to throw long passes to. All of them got their hands on the ball and at least one hauled the ball in for the completion. (<a href="http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#%21/video/video.php?v=138101926208423&ref=notif" target="_blank">http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/...8423&ref=notif</a>).
After the break the kids got back to the field to play some touch football games in order to determine who the best team from each age group was. The games were for fun, and to their credit the kids could be seen congratulating team mates and competition alike. They were taking to hart the words of Coaches Rivers, Huber and all the volunteer Coaches from the local High Schools and Colleges.
Three twenty minute games were played before the campers were called together one more time. This time Rivers addressed them with closing comments, he told the kids that he had a great time and that they were a great group of kids. He also told the kids to thank those who brought them to camp and to appreciate the time at camp. (<a href="http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=138110332874249&saved" target="_blank">http://www.facebook.com/video/video....32874249&saved</a>)
I was left with a deep appreciation of the great role model this young man is. How he has conducted himself in a manner that is a credit to the Chargers, their fans, his family and the Rivers of Hope Foundation. We all know the NFL has many examples of players that we would not like to have our children follow as a role model. The Chargers have many player who are the opposite, a great role model we can be happy to have our kids emulate. Philip took his spot at the head of those players, leading not only on the field but off.
I recall the story of a young LaDainian Tomlinson attending the Emmitt Smith camp in Texas, and there developing a great thirst for the game and a desire to play professionally. I wonder if one of these 300 children will one day repeat a similar story based on their time at this camp. Regardless, everyone enjoyed their time and several of the campers I spoke to can't wait for the second football camp that Philip hosts
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