I was that guy with my backpack on walking through college campuses to get to camps. (I remember) trying to feel it out and find a friend and trying not to be intimidated while acting cool.
As he reflected, Damion Square acknowledged it has been a while since he was that guy. But this Saturday, he's looking forward to being on the other end of that experience.
Square and his Hip 2B Square foundation are putting on a fitness and nutrition clinic at Athlete Training and Health in Houston.
Although Square has held a football camp in the past, this time, he wanted to do something different. Instead of normal Xs and Os, this event provides boys and girls ages eight through 18 a more well-rounded athletic approach. Its basis came from a CrossFit externship that Square did through the NFL. Extending this opportunity to boys and girls alike is something that is really important to the defensive tackle.
"I decided to come up with this camp that caters to anybody who is trying to be physically fit," Square said. "I think a lot of times as football players, we (only) get (youth) football players who want to show up to our camp. Sometimes you don't get girls coming out or camps (aren't tailored for) people who aren't interested in football. I wanted to cater to everybody from a nutritional standpoint and everyday students who are interested in being fit."
Clinic attendees will go through some of ATH's physical assessments and get numbers based on their levels. They will also have opportunities to earn scholarship money.
"It's a great assessment for kids who are interested in getting physically fit. Kids will get numbers and things they can work on. There are certain things that we do as far as 40-times, changing directions, jumps and things like that. The kids will get (evaluation) numbers so they can see where they need to get better no matter what level of sports they're playing or if they're an everyday student."
Although he remembers being at camps when he was a kid, he wouldn't have had sports opportunities if it wasn't for a foundation run by Prince Couisnard he connected with when he was younger. That's why starting his own foundation and putting on events like this one is beyond important to Square.
"For me, I would see guys like Julius Peppers and Casey Hampton when I was a kid and (they're) the reason why I played this game. I wanted to be like those guys. It's important that kids get to see (us as) real people. It's so special when you can meet somebody you consider famous or successful. Those 15 seconds can feel like five hours. I think just to get these athletes out where the kids can see them, it makes them more realistic. It brings up the notion that these guys are people, I think the kids see that. We are a community-aid foundation helping kids in economically disadvantaged situations. If you can change somebody's life, even if it's just one, it's worth it."