AMHERST – Canadian Football League players love Amherst.
“To all the people who came out and to all the kids, I love it,” said Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive back, Jason Shivers. “I love the hospitality. I love it.”
Shivers and four Toronto Argonauts were in Amherst from Wednesday to Saturday teaching young Cumberland County Wolfpack players the fundamentals of the game of football.
Shivers is from Phoenix, Arizona, and the closest he has been to Amherst was when he played against the Calgary Stampeders last year in Moncton.
“I had big play in that game, so it made me feel good,” said Shivers. “I had a special teams tackle just before half time against the Stampeders.”
The players went to different Cumberland County schools to talk about how kids should carry themselves through life and how to respect others.
“They went to three different schools to give talks,” said Travise Dowe, Cumberland County Wolfpack coach. “We did one in Amherst, one in Springhill and one in the county.”
Shivers works with the Super Elite Football Camp. Most of their camps are held in Ontario, but this year they came to the Maritimes for the first time.
“I like coming to towns like this because there’s good, wholesome people,” said Shivers. “There’s no fast-talking or anything like that, and the kids seem really appreciative. Sometimes in the inner city they don’t appreciate it as much.”
About 70 kids participated in the camp and Shivers was impressed with the skill level.
“You can tell certain kids have played two or three years, so you can see the different levels,” said Shivers. “For us it’s good to be able give Travise the extra hand. More volunteer coaches would be a big help.”
Six-foot-four, 320 pound, offensive lineman, Andrew Jones, agrees.
After Thursday’s practice he talked to the kids and told them to listen closely to their coaches.
“Listen closely and soak up as much information as you can,” said Jones. “Learn offence, learn defence, and learn the game.”
Both Shivers and Jones told them to work hard.
“Whenever you’re playing football you want to be going 100 mph, so even if you’re not quite sure what you’re supposed to be doing, the best thing to do is to come out and make a play,” said Jones.
“The most important thing in the game of football is the ball,” added Shivers. “Wherever the ball goes, you go to the ball. You either catch the ball if it’s coming to you, or you go tackle the ball if it’s moving away from you.
“Keep giving good effort and pay attention to your coaches,” said Shivers. “They don’t have as many coaches as other teams.”
Dowe said the camp was a great learning experience for the kids.
“They were fantastic. As soon as they came to the field they interacted with the kids and they were great role models,” said Dowe. “What the kids can learn from them is the dedication and the teamwork that is needed to be in the CFL.”
Super Elite Football president Nick Burns said he had, “a ton of fun.”
“The people are very hospitable and the kids are very well behaved,” said Burns. “It’s fun to come out here to help them out. If they want us back we’d be back for sure.”
He also gave the kids some parting words.
“The harder you work the better you get,” he said. “Work hard but have fun, and keep your grades up.”
More pictures from the camp can be seen on the slide show section at www.cumberlandnewsnow.com