Categorized | Featured, Football, Sports

Pro Bowl 2012 youth clinic arrives on Big Island

Vince Manuwai gives instructions for the next receiving drill. (Photo by Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

More than 180 young athletes turned out Tuesday afternoon at Kealaheke High School football field to get some tips from the pros.

A handful of current and former NFL players conducted a hands-on clinic to teach football skills and techniques to Big Island boys and girls. Each participant also received an NFL Pro Bowl T-shirt that was autographed by the players and an NFL Pro Bowl sling backpack.

The second clinic is 3–5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25 at Keaau High School. The pro players and cheerleaders also are visiting island schools to deliver inspirational messages and talk about positive life choices.

“It’s awesome. It really shows how the NFL gives back to communities,” said county Parks and Recreation director Bob Fitzgerald. “It’s not just about the game, but the positive life models the players bring. The message is to get all our kids out for 60 minutes of recreational activity every day. That’s something we can totally support.”

Vince Manuwai signs his name one more time. (Photo by Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

Honolulu native Vince Manuwai, who played offensive line with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was leading a group of youngsters through some receiving drills after signing each student athlete’s jersey.

“It’s cool every year we get to do this,” he said. “To come to the outer islands is a great opportunity for the kids to get to see the players and interact with us.”

Manuwai said the clinics and school visits are not all about football.

“It’s more that they get to see the athletes and meet them,” he said. “It’s not about looking for talent or who’s going to be a top athlete. I’m a lineman and I’m out here teaching receiving!”

Field goal practice with Fred McCrary. (Photo by Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

Fred McCrary, Seattle Seahawks veteran fullback, was leading a raucous group in the art of catching with your hands, not your body.

“These kids are awesome. You tell them to catch only using their hands and they are on it,” he said. “One of the teams I coach back home, you tell them to use their hands and they’re all trying to do one-hand catches. If you can’t catch with two hands, how you gonna catch with one hand?”

McCrary moved his group over to practice field goals and the cheering got even more raucous. A great chorus of ‘Oooooh’ followed the first 3-pointer.

A slim blonde girl jumped into a round of high-fives after being the first to get enough lift on the ball to carry it over the cross bar.

Nick Sorensen, safety with the Cleveland Browns, split his group into two and conducted foot work drills. The losing team had to do 25 push ups, much to the delight of the winners, who helpfully counted out each push up.

Push ups with Nick Sorensen. (Photo by Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

Marcel Reece, fullback with the Oakland Raiders, was also teaching foot work and speed drills to a younger group of athletes.

“Don’t worry about being fast right now, just worry about doing it right,” he yelled. “That’s it. You got it. Great job.”

He was rewarded with a huge grin from a sweaty little guy whose T-shirt was longer than his shorts.

Foot work drills with Marcel Reece. (Photo by Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

Mayor Billy Kenoi dropped in to observe the action and was coaxed into running a few drills.

“Man, it’s been a long time,” Kenoi said. “But that felt so good.”

Kenoi was an lineman on his Waiakea High School football team, but admitted he’s getting a little old to be tossing around the pigskin with a bunch of NFL players.

The NFL Pro Bowl Youth Clinics program, now in its 10th year, is focused on motivating our youth to realize their dreams and to maximize their potential.

— Find out more:…

Learning the moves for a new cheer with NFL cheerleaders. (Photo by Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7)

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