, Gloucester, MA


June 12, 2013


To the editor:

Two weekends ago, the weather was extremely hot for most of us, it was quite cool for the 450 youngsters who attended Patriots’ All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski’s football camp held at Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody.

The camp was set up to teach youngsters ages 7 to 14, the fundamentals of all the positions in football while having fun. There were 30 coaches handling this task. Sportsmanship and team work were also strongly emphasized. These kids were also made aware that in sports as in life, there will be times when everyone does not always get to play, get to win or get a trophy. This happens only through hard work and doing things right. Strangely enough, most of these campers knew this which was refreshing to hear,

Last month, I had joined a new organization called CoachUp. It lists online, coaches and the sport each one handles for teaching athletes the related fundamentals either individually or in small groups. This is how I and several other coaches were selected to coach at Gronk’s camp.

I am used to working with teenagers and older football players, but at Gronk’s camp, I was assigned a group called the Wolverines. These kids, boys and girls, ranged in age from 7 to 9. All I can say is that I had a blast coaching them. Especially at that age, they are so energetic, enthusiastic and eager to learn.

I had two youngsters who told me that they did not really like football, but that they wanted to be there just to meet Gronk.

One boy had a round pudgy face and wore wire rim glasses and the other was very slender and frail looking. I told them that was OK, but just try to do the best you can for each drill — and they did. In the receiving drill, both kids made bobbling catches of the ball and managed to hang on to it while falling to the ground. When they got up, the other kids clapped and cheered for them as I did, yelling good job, good effort!

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