By Kyle Ford, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public AffairsJanuary 29, 2009
ALIAMANU MILITARY RESERVATION, Hawaii - Coaches tweeted their whistles, gave out sage advice and ran participants ragged in an effort to turn them into football machines.
Then, as if announcing the end of the quarter, a siren sounded and students moved to their next station to demonstrate performance all over again on a new skill.
Current and former National Football League (NFL), university, college and high school football players from Hawaii lent their skills and experience to more than 400 children at the 4th Annual Football Bash Clinic, here, Jan. 24.
"Today is first and foremost about the kids," said Mike Talamaivao, varsity football assistant coach, West Seattle High School, and yearly volunteer, "so parents we love you, and we thank you for bringing everyone here."
Having said that, Talamaivao encouraged parents to take a back seat and let the kids get up front.
In the morning, children ages 8-12 learned the basics of the game. They rotated between stations where coaches showed them how to throw, catch, run, tackle and block.
"I liked the linebacker drills when we got to hit the bag," said Kason Padilla, who participated in the morning group.
In the afternoon, youth ages 13-17, split into offensive and defensive sections and learned some finer points of their positions.
At nearly every offensive and defensive station, coaches repeated the mantra: "You have to move your hips."
While the children were too busy learning and having fun, parents, pros and volunteers recognized the importance of this event.
"It's an honor to help these kids learn and push them in the right direction," said Warren Tauanuu, wide receiver and linebacker, Stockton Lightning. "I was once in their positions, so I know what it would have meant to me to have pro players teaching me what I know."
"It's good to keep the kids in the mindset of working and training hard and focusing on the future," said Chief Warrant Officer Craig Colean, Intelligence and Security Office, U.S. Army-Pacific, "to give them close contact with people who went through the years of training to succeed."
The football bash gives children the opportunity to learn basic skills of football, according to Brendyn Agbayani, Youth Sports coordinator.
More than learning football skills, "children get to see their heroes from teams in person, helping them learn and improve," Agbayani said.
The clinic was more than a learning experience; it also fostered a sense of community throughout Oahu.
The event, open to the public, is a great outreach program that brings together local community and military youth in an experience they can share, according to Agbayani.
"It gives them something in common," he said.
"I loved it; it was a great experience," said V. J. Fehoko, participant in the 13-17 year-old group. "The coaching was excellent, and I enjoyed associating with kids from different schools."
"Bringing all the pro guys and the military kids together helps to show that the military community cares about them," Colean said. "A lot of times, military kids think they can't do something because they move around all the time. This shows them that they can."
Events as big as these don't just happen.
"There were a lot of sponsors who made this happen, from Loves Bakery, which provided snacks, to Tropic Lightning Real Estate and Army Hawaii Family Housing," said Agbayani. "This made it a great deal for parents, and a great experience for the kids."
Children went home with T-shirts, signed footballs, gift certificates and full stomachs.
But the most important things they left with were memories.