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Hearts of Champions

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    By Curtis Egan
    <em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>

    The NFL is often considered the playground of the rich, where young men earn a lot of money for playing a game. With money often comes some sort of troubles. You can't watch sports news show or NFL Total Access without hearing of at least one player from the NFL who is in trouble.

    It seems that sports casters love to announce every bit of troubles and go into the details with that little gleam in their eye and condescending smile. Perhaps I am being harsh, and face it, in today's society dirt sells. People want to hear every detail of how the mighty fall, how those with more stumble and sometimes fall. Face it, there are plenty of problems to report. Just For example, at NFL Crimes.com (<a href="http://nflcrimes.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">http://nflcrimes.blogspot.com/</a>) there have been 47 blogs entered since March 2nd of this year. There is no need to go into the dirty detail of these, let's just agree that there is a distinct enjoyment in reporting the troubles that occur in the NFL.

    Curtis ‘Boonah' Brinkley, a young man who was signed as an rookie undrafted free agent by the San Diego Chargers suffered multiple gunshot wounds while at home in Philadelphia during a break from Spring training. Fortunately he survived and is on the road to recovery. However, being a member of the NFL, and a victim of a deadly attack places him in the center of media attention. Boonah recently tweeted the following "<em>Im amazed how the media works. I can't believe they all just wanna focus on the negative!</em>"

    Certainly I agree with the statement. There is too much accentuating the negative and eliminating the positive. Now I may be getting older, and my mind may be addled a bit from too much loud ‘<em>Nickleback</em>' blaring in my headphones as I write this, but I do not think the is how the song goes. I want to give light to some of the positive that takes place. There is much more than we ever hear of in the NFL. Why? You might ask, well to me it is simple. Do we want to follow hoodlums and gangsters, do we want our children to believe that a pro athlete is supposed to break the law or get into trouble? I don't, and that is why it is important to accentuate the positive, the many players on the Chargers who donate their time and money to help the people of our nation and community.

    To me this is important because the character of the players is indicative of the heart and character of the team, and based on that I believe the Chargers to truly have the heart of a Champion! Players we can respect admire and feel comfortable with our youth seeing them as role models.

    Take for instance Luis Castillo, defensive end for the Chargers. I have had the honor of meeting and speaking briefly with Luis and think he is one of the most down to earth NFL players I have ever met. Back in mid July I wrote an article about Luis (<a href="../?p=5070%29" target="_blank">http://bolttalk.com/?p=5070)</a> and it was during the research for that article that I discovered how much time this young man donates to multiple charities.

    <strong>Castillo's Cargadores</strong>
    Luis teams with Athletes for Education to reach out to kids in the Hispanic community and reward them for improved literacy and citizenship in the classrooms as well as serving their local communities. They host annual events including Activity Based Life Skills &amp; Team Building camp for middle school students as well as a football camp for High School students in Tijuana that Luis personally hosts. It does not stop there however; Luis also sponsors camps in his hometown in New Jersey and his native Dominican Republic. Camp Castillo is a big hit, and he has enlisted the time of fellow teammates, Jeromey Clary, Tra Battle, Jacques Cesaire, Steve Gregory, and Kassim Osgood in his camps as well as retired NFL players such as Leon White and Karl Wilson.

    <a href="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/camp-castillo-2008-11-1.jpg"><img class="alignnone" title="Luis Castillo" src="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/camp-castillo-2008-11-1.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="233" /></a>

    <strong>USO Tours</strong>
    Luis has also traveled abroad on a USO tour of Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan to support the troops. Now it is one thing to give time in the safety of the Americas, or to give money. But on this trip Castillo donned a flak jacket and Kevlar helmet for safety.

    <a href="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/23101437.jpg"><img class="alignnone" title="Luis Castillo" src="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/23101437.jpg" alt="" width="502" height="376" /></a>

    Now that is a lot isn't it? But Luis isn't finished there; he also sponsored bowling find raisers, hospital visits and other charitable functions. Luis is as busy in our community, Mexico, New Jersey, the Dominican Republic and even Afghanistan. It is truly amazing he finds time for that, but I believe Luis is genuine when he says that he is interested in giving back to the communities and the people that support him. Recently Luis tweeted to me saying "<em>(It is) Important to realize that it's not just about the money. Majority of guys give extraordinary amount of time.</em>" Rightly so Luis points out that his many of his teammates lend not only their money, but also their time.

    Many Players on the Chargers have the heart of champions, players such as Kassim Osgood, who has his Team KO. Jaques Cesaire who has his J.C.'s Kids program. Steve Gregory and his SG Squad. Jeromey Clary and his Clary's Crew. Chris Chambers with his Catch (<strong>C</strong>hildren <strong>A</strong>chieving <strong>T</strong>hrough <strong>C</strong>ommunity <strong>H</strong>elp) 84. Cletis Gordon and his work with MADD. Quinten Jammer and his Jammer Family Foundation. Brandon Manumaleuna with the Big John Manumaleuna Foundation, Mike Schifres and his work with the Community Corner, and of course LaDainian Tomlinson and his work with multiple charities.

    <strong>Team KO</strong>
    Team KO recognizes and rewards youth who succeed in the classroom, improve their citizenship and make progress towards becoming more physically fit. Through his mentorship program, Kassim collaborates with teachers and administrators from San Diego City high and middle schools as well as directors from youth organizations. Team KO's efforts are focused in areas within San Diego where children are more at-risk due to lower income levels. The students come from families that do not have the disposable income to purchase tickets to Chargers games.

    Team KO also provides game tickets to students of Monroe Clark Middle School, providing them with a T-shirt, and award certificates as well. Kassim has been very active in keeping the youth of the community in school and active.

    <div class="alignnone"><a href="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/chargers-tko-03.jpg"><img title="Kassim Osgood" src="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/chargers-tko-03.jpg" alt="Kassim Osgood" width="350" height="233" /></a></div>

    Did you think he was done there, nope! He has helped sponsor celebrity gold terminates, sponsored community corner, where families are provided tickets to see a Chargers game, He and Castillo teamed up to assist Councilmember Benjamin Hueso in keeping the children of district 18 active and healthy, he has organized hospital visits with teammates and other local events.

    <a href="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/kassim-castillo-hospital-visit-936.jpg"><img class="alignnone" title="Kassim Osgood and fellow Chargers" src="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/kassim-castillo-hospital-visit-936.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="262" /></a>

    <strong>J.C.'s Kids</strong>
    Big 74, Jaques Cesaire also helps the community. He has assisted with Camp Castillo, gone on hospital visits with Kassim Osgood and has his own charitable organization. J.C.'s Kids was founded in 2007. Jacques feels that everyone needs help at some point, whether it is food, clothing, tutoring, or just a kind word. Jacques knows that "<em>somehow- someway-</em>" he has the ability to give that assistance. He may not be able to personally offer the financial aid, but he can offer spiritual guidance, mental support and a positive perspective.
    Jacques started this foundation knowing that he wouldn't have gotten to the point that he is in life without the help and support of positive role models and caring family members. That fundamental value of helping others motivated him to give back and help others in turn. While J.C.'s Kids targets the San Diego local youths, Jacques is quick to point out that he does not solely want to help children. He wants to reach out to anyone who has fallen on hard times – the homeless, children, military families and the underprivileged.

    Cesaire has also teamed with Steven Gregory to give away turkeys and food during the holidays. To some this may not seem like much, but I can tell you, if you are one of the people getting this assistance it can make the whole holiday season an enjoyable one. No one wants to ever see their children hungry, especially during the holidays.

    <a href="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/jacques-sg-turkey-12.jpg"><img class="alignnone" title="Jacques Caesair" src="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/jacques-sg-turkey-12.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="233" /></a>

    Cesaire has participated in classroom visits to stress physical health and wellness with Steven Gregory as well as sponsoring a holiday even at local schools with Kassim Osgood. Again this is a player taking time out of their hectic schedule to give back to the community.

    <strong>SG Squad</strong>
    Steve Gregory has joined forces with Athletes for Education to become a positive role model for youth, and to teach them about the importance of living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He learned at a young age, that in order to be a successful student athlete, he had to remain in the best physical condition/health possible.
    This can only be achieved through hard work, discipline, and respect for yourself. Steve truly believes that there is a lack of understanding within our youngest generations regarding health education and that the rise of childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic. He foresees that this is the perfect platform to mentor America's youth by relating to their difficulties, helping them make attainable goals, and stressing the importance of caring about a healthy future.

    Gregory has worked with Sunset Elementary school for their wellness program, as well as sponsored the community corner. He remains active in the community and has been a key player in the Bikes 4 kids program where needy children are given new bikes.

    <a href="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/bike4kids-joyner-05.jpg"><img class="alignnone" title="Steve Gregory" src="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/bike4kids-joyner-05.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="233" /></a>

    <strong>Clary's Crew</strong>
    Jeromey Clary knows that a strong work ethic and determination can move mountains. He acknowledges how much children benefit from mentorship programs; however, at the same time he believes that sometimes well-intentioned hardworking parents need a helping hand, too. His vision is to be someone who provides a "hand up", not a "hand out". A "hand up" could be tuition for one last course to achieve a long-pursued degree. It could be the laptop necessary for a struggling entrepreneur, or a power tool for a carpenter.

    Clary has sponsored many Community Corners. Clary's Crew also did something very special when they made a wish come true. They helped a 9 year old boy with brain cancer live his dream. Young Ryan's dream was to be a police officer. Jeromey Clary and Clary's crew provided that dream. They gave him a uniform, albeit a loose fitting one and saw that he was sworn in as a peace officer, then provided a flight in the police helicopter. Read the full touching story here <a href="http://www.afefoundation.org/jeromey-clary-sdpd-chief-for-a-day-officer-ryan.html" target="_blank">http://www.afefoundation.org/jeromey...icer-ryan.html</a>

    <a href="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/sdpd-jeromeyclary-ryan-09.jpg"><img class="alignnone" src="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/sdpd-jeromeyclary-ryan-09.jpg" alt="" width="233" height="350" /></a>

    <a href="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/sdpd-jeromeyclary-ryan-39.jpg"><img class="alignnone" src="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/sdpd-jeromeyclary-ryan-39.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="233" /></a>

    <div class="alignnone"><a href="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/jc-bgcw-rebschool-10.jpg"><img title="Clary has sponsored a mentorship for youth at Joyner MicroSociety Magnet School." src="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/jc-bgcw-rebschool-10.jpg" alt="Clary has sponsored a mentorship for youth at Joyner MicroSociety Magnet School." width="350" height="233" /></a></div>

    <strong>Catch 84</strong>
    Chris Chambers organization helps children from single parent families. They have sponsored Christmas and thanksgiving celebrations for twenty kids and their families, as well as hosting the Hoover High School Mentoring Sessions.

    <strong>Cletis Gordon</strong>
    Cletis Gordon has volunteered his time at youth football camps in Louisiana and California. He takes pride in speaking with youth about making the right choices and following their dreams. In November of 2006 after celebrating with his teammates, Gordon was arrested on suspicion of DUI. He passed the field sobriety test and breathalyzer. The charges were later dropped.
    Gordon then decided to turn a experience into a message for the youth, Gordon then teamed up with M.A.D.D., Mothers Against Drunk Driving, to help get the message out, not to drink and drive. Mr. Gordon also established Sober Youth24, a non-profit foundation that supports organizations that promote zero tolerance for underage drinking.

    <strong>Jammer Family Foundation</strong>
    Quentin and wife Alicia founder the organization to encouragement and support to disadvantages youth. They organized Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners last year, teaming with Shaun Philips for the latter. The Jammer Family Foundation is involved in numerous activities throughout San Diego County.

    <strong>Big John Manumaleuna Foundation</strong>
    Big John Manumaleuna Foundation seeks to use the unique perspective of Samoan and Polynesian cultures to promote education and a healthy lifestyle through education and sports. The Foundation is committed to running unique sports camps aimed at helping high risk youth break the cycle of poverty and strive for higher education. Through volunteers, coaches, current and past NFL players, the Foundation will seek to educate parents and kids alike on things like SAT's, ACT's, scholarships, grades and the importance of higher education. The Foundation has chosen Orange County, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego and Los Angeles for its 2008 camps. Seattle is the only location offering Girls Volleyball. Coming 2009, it will be offered at all selected camp sites.

    The camps put on by the Big John Manumaleuna Foundation are completely free to the participants.

    <strong>Mike Scifres</strong>
    Mike has sponsored many community corners, providing game tickets and t-shirts to families that may not have been able to attend the games without the assistance.

    <a href="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/mike-scifres-cc-colts-04.jpg"><img class="alignnone" src="http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc94/Concudan_CME/mike-scifres-cc-colts-04.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="233" /></a>

    <strong>LT Gives Back</strong>
    I think anyone who has lived in Southern California for at least half a year, or followed the Chargers for any length of time will recognize that LaDainian Tomlinson, his wife are extremely active in the community. They have the <strong>Touching Lives Foundation</strong>, where they participate in and sponsor multiple events designed to promote education, social and cultural awareness as well as provide positive self-esteem building functions.

    LaDainian also sponsors <strong>Camp LT</strong> in Waco and Fort Worth Texas, where the camp principles are Accountability, Academics, Discipline, Leadership, Self-esteem, and Teamwork.

    There is also the LT's 21 club, which provides 30 kids from San Diego youth and non-profit organizations tickets to each Chargers home game. The seats are field-side, and the youth are provides with a t-shirt, hotdog and beverage. The club is designed to promote positive role models and instill confidence in youth.

    Of course there is the <strong>Giving Thanks with LT program</strong> which distributes 2100 thanksgiving dinners to needy families of San Diego County. There is the <strong>LT's Touching Lives Holiday Program</strong> where over 2100 books, toys and videos are distributed to children at Children's Hospital and Health Center during the Christmas holidays.

    But that is not all, LT also has the <strong>LT's School is Cool Scholarship</strong> program for high school graduates planning on attending four-year universities, community colleges or vocational schools after graduation.

    That is a lot done for the people of San Diego County, which is something the city officials should ponder before deciding they can do nothing to keep the Chargers in San Diego. Can San Diego get along without the charities that the great people of the Chargers bring? Yes, of course. But San Diego is better off with the help these players with big hearts bring as well as the positive influences they have on the community.

    Now I know I used to think that the life of an NFL player must be an easy one. Make a lot of money and just play a game. However as I have become more involved in writing about the Chargers, and educating myself on the details of the NFL it became clear to me that a player in the NFL is a busy man, just to keep up. For example, they are often up before the sun, going through multiple workouts, practices, meetings, film sessions, all of this which typically ends after the sun goes down. So the fact that the Chargers has so many caring, giving young men is something special. They have to maintain a busy schedule and they still find time to juggle things and stay active in the community and help others. That is why I believe win lose or draw, the Chargers have the heart of champions and great leadership.

    As a father of two young boys who play sports, I want to personally thank these young men for the role models they are and everything they do.

    <a href="http://bolttalk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=18882" target="_blank"><em>Discuss this article.</em></a>

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