Today was one of those days where you watch kids and think to yourself, “I wish I could have done this when I was a kid.”
As AC/DC blared over the stadium PA system, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was in the midst of throwing a deep ball to one of over 400 youngsters at his ninth annual football camp. The look on the faces of these kids as ball after ball descended to them from the arm of a Super Bowl Champion was priceless. It was easily one of those times where being that age again was awfully enticing.
Roethlisberger’s camp was held at Bethel Park High School south of Pittsburgh. The stadium sits down in a bowl but there was still just enough breeze to keep it bearable for the kids and parents alike. While I wasn’t quite young enough (just barely) to participate, it was still one of the more memorable moments of my life.
Blogging about the Steelers is a passion of mine but I don’t ever want to be confused with an actual journalist. I have great respect for them and it would be disrespectful to put myself anywhere near their expertise and ability. When the offer came to me however to be part of the media group today there was no way I could say, “no.”
Along with two other individuals, we had a chance to meet and interview Roethlisberger. He could not have been more polite and respectful especially to me who he had never seen before. He answered our questions and shook our hands as he headed back to the field.
It was obvious to me immediately that this isn’t “just something he does.” Roethlisberger thoroughly enjoys being around the kids. He has a great sense of humor that was on display whenever he had the mic in his hands. He occasionally took breaks by going under a canopy where his wife and children were staying out of the sun. He also revealed that of the 400 or so campers, he pays the way for about 100 of those kids who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.
Besides the opportunity to catch a pass from Roethlisberger, the other big event is called the “smokehouse.” This is where the kids race against each other in their groups and the finalists from each group race. The difference this year was that the coaching staff and Roethlisberger came up with the idea of a “Father’s Day Race.” This led me to tweet the following…
Here go the dads. Get the trainers ready. @_BigBen7 Camp
— Steel Dad (@SteelDad) June 19, 2016
Unfortunately, there was one casualty as a dad went down with a bad hammy.
Tomorrow I’ll have video of my chance to talk with Big Ben. Unfortunately the wifi in my hotel room is not cooperating! Huge thanks to everyone at ProCamps and that includes Leslie who was my contact person as well as Alex and Taylor.