It’s not every day the pros come to visit.
But on Sunday kids from across the lakeland region were able to learn from Edmonton Eskimos veterans like Almondo Sewell for a one day football clinic at Walsh Field. About 70 kids attended from the peewee, bantam, and high school ranks, travelling as far as Lloydminster for the affair.
The camp was arranged after a strong amount of Bonnyville and area football players were already travelling to camps in Edmonton.
Jason Staroszik, New World Agency, puts on these camps and says that coming to Bonnyville worked out because the Eskies are now on their bye week.
“The response we get from parents and kids is almost overwhelming at times,” said Staroszik. “If we didn’t have a good response we wouldn’t be out here. I think just around 70 kids showed up today…when we do these in Edmonton the highest number we’ve got is 103, and that’s a travelling one. So to have this many is unreal.”
While there wasn’t enough players at each level to scrimmage, there was still a lot of extra practice for the youngsters. And having some time with the pros can only help development.
“They keep telling me watch the head movement and stuff like that,” said Bonnyville Voyageurs receiver, Drake Boulianne.
The Notre Dame student is working on his speed and juking for next season and got some tips from Eskimo receivers Bryant Mitchell and Nate Behar.
“It means a lot. You’ve got to be a salesman as they like to say. You have to sell your fake. When your head’s down they know if you’re going to cut or whatnot.”
Nine Eskimos and free agents adjusted their schedules on their bye to come to town, including seven year Eskimo veteran, and Grey Cup champion Almondo Sewell.
“You know when Jason brought it up, he said it was going to be a success out here. It was a great turnout. More than I thought there was going to be, so it’s good. I’ve never been out this far in Alberta,” said Sewell.
When the Eskimos arrived, some were commenting on how Walsh Field is better than ones they played on at college.
“It’s a great field. It’s like a multi-use complex. You’ve got sandpits over there for long jump. I see you’ve got lacrosse lines over there. So yeah it’s a great field,” said Sewell.
Sewell says that the most common thing he tells young players is that “playing football isn’t easy.”
“If it was easy, everybody would be doing it. But at the same time you gotta go home and work on your craft and do it continuously over and over and over. It’s not the most flashy thing when you’re playing on the d-line, but once you get the hang of it, it’s great,” said Sewell.
If New World Agency gets their way, this might be the first of many pro camps happening in Bonnyville if the scheduling can be managed.
“I wish we could stay out here longer and do two days….if we could get back here soon that would be great.”