Many kids dream of one day playing on Sundays in the NFL. It is a goal that takes practice, determination, hard work, perseverance, more practice and a mentor.
Horace Copeland, former NFL wide receiver, previous Tampa Bay Buccaneer and Spring Hill resident, wants to be that mentor and help area youth reach their goal and dream of playing professional football.
A kids’ football camp with Copeland is planned for next Saturday, May 18, at Anderson Snow Park in Spring Hill.
Copeland played wide receiver for seven seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders.
Copeland was drafted in the fourth round of the 1993 NFL Draft. He also was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.
The camp promises to teach kids more than learning the drills and skills associated with football.
Horace Copeland said, “We teach them how to press through drills and obstacles that challenge them physically and to envision themselves as winners who never quit. I want them to learn that real success comes through working hard and patience. There are no shortcuts. Everything they do should have a purpose. I don’t want them to just be a football champion but an overall champion in the game of life.”
Copeland said that he loves working with the youth and instilling the life lessons needed in order to succeed.
“I love seeing the smiles on their faces and watching them enjoy the end results of what they’ve learned come together at the end of the camp. I am extremely grateful to Hernando County Parks and Recreation, the camp volunteers and sponsors who support this event. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” said Copeland.
And Copeland knows firsthand the difference it made it his own life to have a mentor and have someone take the time to work with him and believe in him. His own mentor as a kid was a coach in Orlando named Coach Huff.
“There were times that I wanted to quit, but he didn’t give up on me. He saw something bigger in me than I did in the beginning,” said Copeland.
Many former teammates will be helping Horace Copeland at the football camp too. Kevin House, Marcus Jones, Chidi Ahanotu and Kenny Gant all have volunteered to help.
This noncontact football camp for children ages 5-16 will be held from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. May 18 at Anderson Snow Park, located at 1360 Anderson Snow Road in Spring Hill. Check-in starts at 8 a.m.
The 2013 kids’ football camp is free, but registration will be limited to the first 300 kids who are signed up. Lunch will be provided. Shirts may be preordered for $8. Checks for shirts must be payable to Graphix T’s. Preregister your child for the football camp by calling Hernando County Parks and Recreation at (352) 754-4031.
Sponsors of the event are Hernando County Parks and Recreation Department, Chick-fil-A, Sam’s Club, Texas Roadhouse, CiCi’s Pizza, Publix, Beef ‘O’Brady’s, and Graphix T’s.
Visit hernandocounty.us/Parks_Rec and horacecopeland.com. for more information.