| By Myra Bean
Deshea Townsend and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers could not have asked for a more enthusiastic crowd at the Pay It Forward Camp Saturday morning.
Townsend sponsors the camp each years and brings with him some of his teammates to impart their knowledge of the game with the participants.
This year with Townsend were Hines Ward, Chris Hope, Ike Taylor, Ricardo Colcough, Joey Porter and Cedric Wilson.
Hope just signed a free agency contract with the Tennessee Titans.
Also returning home to help in the camp were for South Panola Tigers Chris Young, who played at and graduated from Vanderbilt, and Javar Pollard who will be a senior at the University of Memphis this upcoming season. He is a cornerback for the Tigers.
Paul Morgan who was a 1993 teammate of Townsend and who also played and graduated from Vanderbilt helped coordinate and work the camp. Also coordinating the camp were Nyanthia Townsend, Belinda Morris and myself.
Other camp workers included the South Panola coaching staff Ricky Woods, Willis Wright, Mark Weaver, Lucian King, Trenell Edwards, John Davis and Michael Fair.
Many parents and other adults volunteered to work at the camp to ease the burden of seeing after so many children.
Thanks to everyone for their help.
Over 500 children participated in the camp, making this one of the biggest ones ever held. Townsend ran out of t-shirts because of the last minute surge in children signing up for the camp.
The Tiger football field was covered with white-shirted children when all of them were called from the stand by grade and put on the field to begin the camp.
The players conducting the camp worked the children out so good that after water and gatorade provided by Cornerstone Rehabilitation, pizza by Pizza Hut, and shaved ice, many reported the children went home and rested for a while.
Then, when the sun went down many were seen proudly wearing their camp shirts at SpringFest later on that night.
It was a perfect day for the camp with a breeze blowing throughout the day to keep the heat down.
The joyful sounds of the children’s laughter as they had the time of their lives brought smiles to many hearts.
Some of the girls in the junior high age did not really like to do the football stuff but they hung on in there. Holly Springs brought members of their football team to glean just a little bit of information from the professionals who know how to get a Super Bowl ring.
We expect great things from Holly Springs this coming season.
I was so busy running around with the microphone and making sure the little ones didn’t get hurt that I forgot to interview Deshea and the other guys. I do know that he was glad to put on the camp again for the sixth year. I have already heard other people were ready for the seventh year in 2007.
Hold on! Some of us have to recuperate from this year.
It is great to know that the excitement is still lingering in the air. Hopefully, Deshea will be real nice and share with us again.