The H.J. Cody School field was buzzing with young football players Saturday afternoon as Edmonton Eskimos quarterback James Franklin lead a football clinic for children of all ages.
Many children from different football teams participated in the high-energy clinic.
The most important aspect of the clinic was ensuring the children had fun said Franklin.
Prior to starting, Franklin said he was looking forward to having fun with the children and being able to make an impact in their lives, adding he knows some of the young athletes want to continuein football.
“It’s a really good life lesson sport,” Franklin said. “It’s one of the biggest team sports there is and you have to learn to work together with people and to enjoy it as well.”
Franklin made his football rule very clear to the children – they must have fun, which they certainly did.
In addition, he ensured the children learned the importance of warming up and taking proper care of their body.
“You have to warm up properly because you can’t just go into it full speed,” Franklin said.
He taught the children some warm up drills in conjunction with listening skills. Those in attendance learned to take their turns when he clapped his hands together, not when he said ‘go’.
The children grasped the concept of listening for his clap all the while being thrilled to be taught by an Eskimo football player.
After a warm up, the children grouped together and listened to Franklin tell him how important it was to have fun while they play football.
He said he didn’t care who won or who lost that day, it was more important that the children learned to have fun.
He also reminded them how important it was to eat healthy food and drink water. He brought up the idea of doing yoga as well because they need to be mobile and strong.
Still the main objective was to teach the children to not forget about having fun.
Franklin put a strong emphasis on having fun as he feels too many children focus on what they want to accomplish, while completely forgetting to have fun in the process.
“The biggest key to my success is that I have enjoyed it,” Franklin said. “I never felt pressured or like I had to do this. I felt like this is fun. Everyone likes to have fun and to have a good time. I reallywant to stress the importance of having fun and doing your best – that’s all you can do.”
If you don’t enjoy the process you’re going through, it will go by too quickly he added.
“It’s super fast,” Franklin said. “You look back and say ‘wow I was focusing on the wrong things and wasn’t enjoying it’. You can miss out on a lot of opportunities.”
When you don’t enjoy yourself and aren’t having fun you’re going to be miserable for a long time, especially if you plan on playing football for a while he explained.
He added football players also have to have their heart in the game. They can’t play the sport just because someone else wants them to.
“If you’re serious and just doing it because someone else told you to or you’re trying to accomplish something and you’re putting so much pressure on yourself, you’re not going to have fun playingfootball,” Franklin said. “It’s going to be miserable and everyone hates having a miserable life.”
“When you don’t do those things and incorporate that into football you miss out on a lot of joyful times in your life.”
Franklin said he is satisfied being a football player, not for the fame or glory of being who he is, but rather because he gets to have fun.
Not only does he have fun playing the sport, his career has brought him many great opportunities which have allowed him to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Through football he has been an example to young athletes, has travelled to teach and play football, as well as made a positive impact in communities such as Sylvan Lake over the past weekend.
“Changing someone’s life for the better, that’s the biggest thing I have really enjoyed that football has brought to me,” Franklin said.