Thinking Back About Virtue Camp

Here is a testimony from a current College Freshman ... looking back on his football - SportsLeader experience. 

Please think about at least 1 other coach at another school you could forward this to. Our world needs more virtuous young men like Tyler and SportsLeader can help.

Virtue = Strength,
Lou Judd


Sportsleader was introduced to my high school, Theodore Roosevelt, about a year ago when it was brought to my football team. Now as the season and graduation have passed, the lessons have remained. My name is Tyler Hamilton and I am currently attending the prestigious Case Western Reserve University. Here I am a freshman on the Spartan football team and am starting my study of aerospace engineering. In high school I graduated number nine in my class and was named male athlete of the year for playing three varsity sports (football, basketball, track), but football was where my passion was. The fans, the team, the brotherhood all meant more to me than anyone could imagine. As a senior I was named a team captain, which I took pride in, just like my fellow captains. The 2011 season was much anticipated for the residents of Wyandotte. The senior class was the biggest, strongest, and most successful class that has come through the program. As the first practice drew near, players were invited to the first annual Virtue Camp for the Wyandotte Bears football team. No one really knew what to expect, but what we learned from that 24 hours together will last a lifetime.

As a 4.0 (Grade Point Average) student, community leader, and well respected student, I did not expect the virtue program to teach me anything more than what my parents and coaches have taught me over the years. “Treat others as you want to be treated,” I thought would be the main message. Something that most players would look past and just say “Yeah, we know,” As the day started we all realized it was much more. Three moments that have remained in my mind from the virtue camp would have to be the father-son night, the emotions throughout the camp, and the team bonding. 

Although father-son jersey night was not until after the camp, it was still a moment I cannot forget. This night was designed for the dads of each player to tell their son why he loves them and to present the varsity jersey to him for the season. As the players came that night they expected it to be a silly night with their dad’s but quickly it turned into the greatest night I have ever had with my father. As my dad stood up in front of his peers, my friends, and a room filled with 100 plus men, he looked at me and with a tear in his eye told me he is proud of all the work I have put into school. Proud of how I go through life and that he loved me. Realizing what it takes to tell your son that made me appreciate everything my dad has taught me over the years. 

Also the emotions not only occurred on that night but during the camp as well. As young men who play the tough game of football, we are viewed as tough, strong, mean players who don’t cry, don’t love, don’t fear, but as that day went on, I remember coaches and players alike sharing their fears, their stories, and their struggles. As a player myself I saw every type of person discuss feelings they never had before. You had kids who were shy, who were “too tough”, who seemed like they didn’t care but they ALL contributed to this camp. From players who lost a loved one to players going through financial struggles, many issues were discussed and this in turn made our team that much closer and helped many young men move on in life.

With the day of intense feeling behind us, it was time for some fun. The virtue camp had many activities going on and all the players were to spend the night on the field. The pickup basketball games, the table tennis tournaments, and the bon fire on the practice field. All of it was the greatest team bonding experience we could have gotten. It was a great way to reflect and just be together as a family. Sleeping on the field just brought us closer to our “home” and our “brothers.” 

The Virtue Camp that was held by SportsLeader will always be in my memories. It was one of the best high school experiences I had and helped me grow as a man.  Every day I dedicate myself to the virtue and the principles that were taught to me during my virtue camp. Just last week I was offered a job at a children’s museum and one of the main reasons I was hired was the fact that during the interview I brought up the virtue camp. They said that any man who is willing to improve himself everyday should have a place on our staff. SportsLeader’s program works!!! Thank you Sportsleader. Thank you for the new life I live every day. Thank you for making this world a better place. 
Tyler was # 83.