Teach­ing Touch­down

Fort McMurray Today - - FORT MCMURRAY - LAURA BEAMISH To­day Staff lbeamish@post­media.com

It was a day of throw­ing, catching, flag foot­ball scrim­mages and run­ning as lo­cal stu­dents got to hang out with play­ers from the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos this week.

Be­tween win­ning a game against Cal­gary Satur­day and mak­ing their way to Ottawa to play against the Red­blacks on Sept. 22, Eski­mos play­ers Korey Jones, Calvin McCarty, Christophe Nor­mand and Blair Smith spent time at Mac­Don­ald Is­land Park Thurs­day with kids from lo­cal schools in Fort McMur­ray to get out of the class­room.

“It’s been awe­some to be able to come out here and play some games with these kids and let loose for a lit­tle bit,” said McCarty. “I think it’s price­less and it’s awe­some for their self es­teem and it’s also re­ward­ing for us as well.”

Al­though they were do­ing foot­ball re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties with the kids, McCarty said it’s not some­thing that just kids in­ter­ested in foot­ball can en­joy.

“Be­ing able to teach some kids some skills that they might be able to ap­ply to some other area of their life… it’s not re­ally about the tech­ni­cal­i­ties or be­ing pre­fect in drills, it’s just about try­ing and ap­ply­ing your­self,” he said.

For Hay­den Austin and Keenan Cur­tis, two long-time friends in Grade 5 at Ecolé St. Paul, the chance to have some fun and in­ter­act with the play­ers was a great op­por­tu­nity.

“It means a lot be­cause I’ve watched the team be­fore… they’re re­ally nice peo­ple and I love how they play foot­ball,” said Austin.

On Wed­nes­day, the play­ers spent some time with kids at Bill Wood­ward School in An­zac. They also vis­ited pa­tients at the North­ern Lights Re­gional Health Cen­tre.

“It’s nice to get up here a lit­tle bit fur­ther from the city, to a place that was hon­estly pretty cool to come here and see how much of a fan base there is up here,” said Jones

This is Nor­mand’s first year on the team and his first time in Fort McMur­ray. He said the ex­pe­ri­ence has been fun and not what he was ex­pect­ing.

“Com­ing here is quite the ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “You get here, you see the fa­cil­i­ties here for the kids and for the com­mu­nity, it’s pretty awe­some.”

Smith agreed with his team­mates, say­ing the chance to spend some time with the kids in Fort McMur­ray is not only fun for the kids, but also some­thing spe­cial for the play­ers.

“(They’re) def­i­nitely happy to see us up close and per­sonal,” he said. “I’m sure there’s not too much of this up in Fort McMur­ray so to be able to do it is def­i­nitely an hon­our.”

In 2015, the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos were in Fort McMur­ray to play a pre-sea­son and a reg­u­lar sea­son game to cel­e­brate the open­ing of Shell Place. Smith said he’d be happy com­ing back for an­other game in the fu­ture.

“The pre-sea­son game was wild,” he said. “The peo­ple are al­ways re­ally happy to see us so any time we can bring joy to some­body’s day.”

Blair Smith, line­backer for the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos, has lo­cal kids par­tic­i­pate in some foot­ball drills at Mac­Don­ald Is­land Park in Fort McMur­ray, Alta on Thurs­day, Sept. 13, 2018. Play­ers from the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos made a trip to Wood Buf­falo to spend some time with lo­cal stu­dents and make some vis­its to the North­ern Lights Re­gional Health Cen­tre.

PHO­TOS BY LAURA BEAMISH/FORT MCMUR­RAY TO­DAY/POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Eski­mos’ Korey Jones ex­plains to the kids how the mini scrimmage of flag foot­ball is go­ing to work at Mac­Don­ald Is­land Park in Fort McMur­ray, Alta on Thurs­day, Sept. 13, 2018.

Lo­cal kids par­tic­i­pate in some foot­ball drills with some Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos play­ers.

Lo­cal kids par­tic­i­pate in some foot­ball drills with some Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos play­ers.

Lo­cal kids par­tic­i­pate in some foot­ball drills with some Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos play­ers.

Eski­mos’ Christophe Nor­mand con­ducts some throw­ing and catching drills with the stu­dents.

Eski­mos’ Calvin McCarty has lo­cal kids par­tic­i­pat­ing in some foot­ball drills.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.