Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant gathered the 100 high school campers around in a semi-circle at about 11 a.m. Saturday to address them before the camp started at Wilson High School. He introduced some of the local pros in attendance — Gig Harbor’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins; WSU product Xavier Cooper, a Tacoma native; UW product Danny Shelton and a few others. Then he delivered a message to the campers.
“This is all about competition,” Trufant said. “We’re going to run this just like an NFL practice.”
And they did. The DJ in the booth cranked up the music and the pros started barking commands at the players — where to go and what to do.
I’ve been to a lot of camps in my life — mostly basketball, and a lot of them were timid, low-energy affairs. Credit to Trufant and his organizers: The camp was high-energy, competitive and exciting from the start.
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Unfortunately, Trufant capped the number of attendees at 100. But the 100 in attendance learned valuable skills based on their position and more importantly, were likely inspired by the local pros.
The Trufants are no strangers to being present in the Seattle-Tacoma community. Desmond’s older brother, Marcus, who spent several successful years with the Seattle Seahawks, has been particularly active in the community. The Trufant Family Foundation, started by Marcus, supports a number of existing programs and runs a scholarship program for high school kids in Tacoma.
It’s a good example of the positive impact sports can have in our communities. Aside from supporting their communities financially by funding various charities, these athletes give kids something to aspire to. Very few kids will ever play professional sports, but anyone can help with their community. When local professional athletes are present in their communities, it creates a positive cycle and enriches the community.
Seferian-Jenkins was also at a local fundraising basketball game at Peninsula High School, helping the cause in whatever way he could.
The camp was a small difference in the community — a few hours of competing and having fun at Wilson High. But no work in the community is insignificant, and there’s a good chance that many of the campers left the camp with an optimistic mindset, a renewed sense of purpose and a sense of pride in their community.