Monday, Feb. 2, 2003
>> A photo caption on Page A19 yesterday incorrectly identified a National Football League player conducting a youth clinic. The player was Kevin Mawae, a center for the New York Jets, not Maake "Kemo" Kemoeatu of the Baltimore Ravens.
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ANTHONY SOMMER / TSOMMER@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Maake "Kemo" Kemoeatu was one of 10 NFL players who ran clinics yesterday for youngsters at Kauai's Vidinha Stadium. Kemoeatu, a defensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens, played for Kahuku High School. The clinics will move on to the other islands beginning tomorrow.
Youth get star treatment
at football camp on Kauai
LIHUE >> "Very nice catch! You have really soft hands!" Nat Moore shouted to a Kauai youngster who had just pulled in one of Moore's passes at Vidinha Stadium yesterday.
Moore should know about catching passes. He was a star receiver on the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only team in NFL history to have a "perfect season" with a 17-0 record.
He has been running youth football clinics as a part of the NFL Super Bowl activities for decades. Last year, he expanded the clinics to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl on a limited basis.
This year, he has events scheduled on all the islands and he recruited NFL cheerleaders to conduct clinics for local cheerleaders.
Another addition to his program this year is a series of motivational speeches at school assemblies throughout the state. Players and cheerleaders will urge students to stay in school and off of drugs.
The football clinics are part fun and part serious football. No one gets chewed out for making mistakes, although Moore himself can sound pretty gruff ("Take off those flip-flops. You're gonna break your neck wearing those things," he growled at one boy who, in fact, was happier running pass routes in bare feet).
Groups of youngsters rotate from station to station on the football field to work on passing, receiving, agility, and giving and receiving hand-offs.
An NFL player is at each station to run the drills.
The current roster boasts three Kahuku High School alumni (Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Maake "Kemo" Kemoeatu, Seahawks tight end Itula Mili, and Jacksonville Jaguars guard Chris Naeole).
The Kauai kids were thrilled.
Possibly the most popular in the group was rookie Tennessee Titans quarterback Jason Gesser, a St. Louis High School graduate, who had youngsters literally hanging from his neck in a four-down football game he ran.
Atlanta Falcons guard Kynan Forney was born and raised in Texas but played for the University of Hawaii. And five-time Pro Bowl New York Jets center Kevin Mawae never lived or went to school in Hawaii but his father grew up in Anahola on Kauai. One of his young cousins from Kapaa was among the youngsters playing in the clinic.
The young cheerleaders benefited from two and a half hours of personal attention from NFL cheerleaders Kristin Beisel of the San Francisco 49ers and Shantel Moncito of the San Diego Chargers.
One of the things they found out is that almost every NFL cheerleader is a professional dancer. Their routines are really choreographed dance numbers.
They also found out NFL cheerleaders are only paid $65 to $75 per game and all have other careers or, as in Moncito's case, are college students.
"I love it," said Beisel, who has been with the 49ers for two years. "I can't imagine any part-time job that can be more fun."
Tomorrow there will be motivational speeches at schools on Kauai, Lanai, Molokai and Oahu. Tuesday and Wednesday there will be school assemblies and clinics on the Big Island. Thursday there will be assemblies and a clinic on Maui and Saturday there will be a clinic on Oahu.
Because the number of children who can participate is limited, all are from middle and high schools and their names were chosen in advance by a random drawing.