Chang gives back at camp
|Power 4 Sports Youth Camp photo gallery|
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
Coming on the heels of much larger camps for Hawai'i high school football players, the inaugural Power 4 Sports Youth Camp at Kaiser High School offered three distinct differences this weekend:
1. Almost all of the 70 or so participants are attending for free, thanks to sponsors;
2. They are receiving personal instruction from 10 current or former NFL players; and
3. Tim Chang.
"This is real good," Chang said during a break yesterday afternoon. "The high school kids and even the younger kids (on Friday) are so receptive to learning. It's been exciting."
Chang, the former University of Hawai'i quarterback and college football's all-time leading passer, has been busy preparing for the upcoming Philadelphia Eagles training camp where he will try to land his first NFL job. But he believed the Power 4 Camp was important enough for him to spend the weekend coaching kids in Hawai'i, and to spend $1,000 to sponsor the registration fee of 11 players from Saint Louis School, his alma mater.
"It was a big thing for me to get out here," Chang said. "All of these NFL players have been through what these kids are going through, they've been there. So the kids look up to them. It's a great experience for them."
As for the $1,000 donation, Chang said it's his way of showing gratitude.
"It's something I needed to do," Chang said. "Saint Louis gave so much to me ... the life skills and the friends — those guys are still my best friends to this day. I gotta give back and help these Saint Louis kids learn how to do the right things."
Saint Louis coach Delbert Tengan said Chang, who recently completed a season in NFL Europe, has yet to earn the big money many pro athletes enjoy.
"That's the thing, he's still trying to make ends meet," Tengan said. "So for him to donate $1,000, that shows you his character and the kind of person he is."
Chang was not alone in his generosity. The nine other NFL players paid their own way to come to Hawai'i and donate their time to give the camp participants rare personal instruction.
"At most of the camps I've been to on the Mainland, the NFL players will come only to sign autographs for one hour and then they leave," said Chad Ikei, the Power 4 Camp's organizer. "These guys here are working with the kids the whole time."
In addition to Chang, the participating NFL players are the Arizona Cardinals' Aaron Francisco, Isaac Keys, Kenny King and Taitusi Deuce Lutui, the Carolina Panthers' Evan Mathis, the Detroit Lions' Idrees Bashir, Jimmy Redmond (free agent, most recently with the Minnesota Vikings) and Seth Joyner (retired from the Philadelphia Eagles).
Francisco is a former standout at Kahuku High School and Brigham Young University.
The two-day high school camp (Friday's camp was for youths aged 8 to 14) began yesterday morning with three "classroom" sessions. The first was geared toward nutrition, the second focused on recruiting — "what they need to do to prepare themselves for college," Ikei said — and the third was held in the weight room.
"We mainly taught them how to do two lifts — the power snatch and the power clean," said Ikei, a former power lifting champion. "Out of the 70 or so kids, only six or eight of them knew how to do the power snatch, and only a handful of others knew about the power clean. But when they get to college, those are two of the main lifts. If they haven't been exposed to it, when they get to college, they'll be behind."
After a break for lunch, the campers took to the field for individual position drills.
"I learned how to take deeper strides, how to look downfield," said Micah Mamiya, a Saint Louis quarterback entering his junior season. "It's motivating (to learn from Chang), because I'm trying to fill his position at Saint Louis."
Kelly Muldowney, a senior defensive back for the Crusaders, said he feels fortunate to have the opportunity afforded by Chang.
"We have good coaches at Saint Louis, but they may not have the (NFL) experience these guys have," Muldowney said. "We learn at Saint Louis, but we can learn here, too. And for free."
Ikei, a 1989 Kaiser graduate, is a professional fitness instructor based in Scottsdale, Ariz., with 40 NFL clients.
"It's been my goal to bring something like this back to the Hawai'i community," he said.
Reach Wes Nakama at email@example.com.