This past weekend Eric Mangini conducted another session of his annual Football Fundamentals camp. The camp, which welcomes all players regardless of ability to pay, was once again a success. I’ve posted an excerpt from an article that I wrote a few years ago that provides a small window into what Mangini’s camp is all about. Congratulations to Eric Mangini and his foundation for another job well done.
A few years back, my wife and I volunteered at Eric Mangini’s Football Fundamentals camp in Hartford. Despite torrential downpours, the camp attracted somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 players, some from wealthy suburbs, others from poor urban areas, and even a busload of players from New Jersey (Mangini had just taken over the Jets). All received instruction from an all-star roster of players and coaches from the New York Jets and New England Patriots. After speaking with many long-time volunteers, we learned one of the most basic principles of the camp: every player can participate, regardless of his ability to pay the registration fee.
Following the conclusion of the day-long camp, we watched Corwin Brown, former Patriots defensive back and current Notre Dame assistant coach, interact with a high school player who attended the afternoon session of the camp. As I recall, the player had missed the entire morning session of camp, on account of attending the funeral of a teammate who was killed in a drive-by shooting. Brown asked the player if he’d ever been to an NFL game. He said no. Brown gave him his cell phone number and told the player to pick a game and Brown would get him tickets for him and a few of his friends. As impressive as Brown’s gesture was, it was just a small example of players and coaches trying to help these young players in any way they could.