Louisville defensive back Josh Minkins slipped a bit while doing ladder exercises on Saturday afternoon, but smiled and walked away as a group of young children looked on.
Neither of them seemed to have noticed or even cared before completing the exercise as best they could for the next five minutes. Minkins then made sure everyone had something to drink before moving on to the next exercise.
Meanwhile, Louisville’s tight end Marshon Ford marched from one end of the Ballard High School football field to the other with a megaphone to make sure everyone knew where to go while encouraging various groups of children.
In many ways, Saturday was a coming-of-age moment for Ford and Minkins, who hosted and ran their first football camp for about 130 kids between the ages of 5 and 17. The two, who were teammates during Minkins’ first two seasons at Ballard and then reunited when he arrived in Louisville in 2020 and wore the same number 5, were back on their old stomping grounds. When they decided to do team for a camp, it made sense to hold it somewhere familiar and somewhat sentimental.
“We have a new grass field, nice booths, facilities, so I had to take advantage of that,” Minkins said. “It was kind of a no-brainer to come here and make it happen here.”
Not so long ago, they were those young kids, watching every move and learning from players running camps. If Minkins knew of a side he would go if it was hosted by Louisville or the former Cardinal and Super Bowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch. Some of Ford’s favorite childhood memories involved hanging out with former players like former Cardinals running back Victor Anderson at football camp.
“I thought it was so cool, so I felt like it had a huge impact on my life,” Ford said. “You see these guys on TV and the next thing you know, you’re in person doing what they do. They teach you.
Having the same impact on the next generation of players, especially in their hometown, played the biggest role in how Minkins and Ford started their camp. More than just a camp (and a bouncy house for those who want to maximize their verticality), they wanted to make it accessible to everyone. So they made it free.
“I know a lot of kids need something to do,” Minkins said. help them. … Giving back to the community means a lot to me, my family and Marshon’s family as well. It was a big problem for us. »
Current teammates love the quarterback Malik Cunninghamlinebacker Monty Montgomery and defensive lineman YaYa Diaby, among others, were there to help perform some of the position exercises. Former Ballard and U of L wide receiver Devante Parker, who is now with the New England Patriotseven made an appearance after hosting his soccer camp the week before.
“I like their swag,” Ford said of the campers. “I like the way they approach things and how they operate. They don’t complain. It’s hot here, but they work.