Windsor’s Finest Football Academy levels up

Todd Shearon
By Todd Shearon April 14, 2018 09:45

Dallas Cowboys’ Tyrone Crawford holds his cousins, James Turax, 7 (left) and Jack Turax, 9 (right) during an interview at Windsor’s Finest Football Academy at the University of Windsor’s Alumni Field on Saturday, April 7, 2018. Photo by Todd Shearon.

A collection of NFL and CFL players took on the youth of Windsor on Saturday.

Dallas Cowboy and Windsor native Tyrone Crawford returned to his hometown to host Windsor’s Finest Football Academy at the University of Windsor’s Alumni Field.

Professional football players including Luke Willson (Lions), Demarcus Lawrence (Cowboys), Kyle Wilbur (Raiders), Daryl Townsend (Alouettes) and others took time out of their schedules to join Crawford for the event’s fifth annual camp.

“I definitely want to help these guys out and support them if I can in any way,” said Willson. “It’s great just being out in the community. It’s just a neat ordeal to see the amount of Windsor talent that’s out here at all different levels and ages.

Willson said you can tell there’s a lot that goes into organizing the camp and that Crawford obviously cares about the community.

“On the field, the guy is just one of the hardest working dudes,” said Willson. “Then you see he’s got a passion to give back to this Windsor community and that comes out today. It’s very neat.”

Crawford said it was amazing to come to the city with his teammates, CFL friends, brother and cousin to help at the camp.

“It’s definitely a blessing to have this platform and be able to share with the youth here in Windsor,” said Crawford. “It’s just an amazing feeling.”

The academy was split into two age groups ranging from 7-12 and 13-19 years old.

Crawford also had several family members in attendance, some even participating as campers.

James Truax, 7, said his big cousin Tyrone is his favourite player and that he will also play for the Cowboys — his favourite team — one day.

It was a big day for Truax who said he was having fun “playing games and sacking people.”

“They’ve been out year to year, so it’s amazing to get them going athletically,” he said, referring to James and his older brother Jack, 9. “They get a big shout out for (both) wearing my jersey. They already know I love them.”

Since the camp’s inception, one of the main objectives has been to teach the campers to “tackle bullying.” This year was no different with the slogan ‘Level Up’ displayed on the front of the pro players’ shirts.

To ‘level up’ basically means to work toward taking something to the next level. The idea was taken from a rap song Crawford’s college teammate wrote.

“We’ve done it with a lot of things in our lives,” Crawford said. “We constantly try and level up and constantly try and get to the next level. We’re just trying to instill that in these kids, and I think we’re doing a good job.”

Crawford said there were lots of highlights at the camp including representatives for the U.S.-based NFLPlay60 (a health and fitness campaign) being in attendance for the first time, but one thing stood out to him.

“Just the smile on these kid’s faces…that’s a highlight enough,” said Crawford. “Just to see them out here having fun and being inspired by good guys.”

Click to listen to radio news story

Todd Shearon
By Todd Shearon April 14, 2018 09:45

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