Parking spots filled quickly as anxious kids and their parents made their way to the Tournament Sportsplex of Tampa Bay.
Florida State Seminoles football head coach Mike Norvell made it a point to touch down in the city of champions to showcase the talent and community of the city. Upon arrival, the smiling faces of coaches and staff were on the display. The excitement building was as thick as the heat. Equipment including pop-ups, football dummies were laid out in the field and soon there would be little legs dashing between them learning the proper tackling form.
Coach Norvell did nothing to hide how proud he was and ready to get out with the youth. When asked what his motivations were for having events like Youth and Mega Camp, coach Norvell mentioned 3 things: building relationships, investing in the communities of Florida, and developing the fundamentals of youth.
“It’s an opportunity to showcase our state. These kids have been so limited, and you do not get the spring evaluations. So [on top of that] if we can provide an opportunity for our players in the state of Florida to get that exposure from over 60 colleges from all levels ]at our Mega Camp], we’ve accomplished what this is all about.”
This is no surprise to hear from a coach who, in 90 degrees along with staff, held a little over an hour training session that had over 100 kids giving it their all-in agility and speed drills. Parents stood on the sidelines yelling out encouraging words as their mini-athletes followed drill after drill with attentive ears and wide eyes.
“SPEED! SPEEED! SPEED! I want everybody to start in the power position! Watch me, place your knee over your toe and hands up. So, when you take off, no wasted movement!”
No wasted movement was had. Kids only knee-high were out and about showing the staff their best — even some hands-on individual coaching was given.
“Feet up! Feet up! It is not a race. Keep your eyes up!”
It’s hard to see what Norvell and staff are accomplishing and not feel a sense of unity and admiration. Bearing witness to parents and kids from different backgrounds and teams collaborating to grow speaks to the resilience of the people and the state. What Mike Norvell brought to Tampa and all communities he has touched down in was, and is, bigger than football.