On Sunday, September 10, we hosted our annual NYO Football kickoff event in Chastain Park. This celebration is a spirited night at the park. The event features all of the cheerleaders and “Bigs” players in uniform on the field, a keynote speaker, and a “Bigs” football game on Blackwell Field.
The guest speaker is part of the Character Development program offered by NYO Football. In the past, we have had some legendary coaches like Bill Curry, Phil Fulmer, and Vince Dooley participate in the event. Our 2017 Kickoff featured Rennie Curran, a young man of just 28-years who was a three time All-American at the University of Georgia, and played a few years in the NFL. Since his retirement from football, Rennie has been on the speaking circuit nationwide and he has written a children’s book.
Rennie delivered a fantastic message to our kids and parents emphasizing the following points:
“Focus on what you can control”
- Attitude – We all control our attitude. We should go into everyday with a positive attitude. A bad attitude is toxic and will create a bad teammate.
- Effort – We should always give our best effort in everything we do on and off the field.
“Play bigger than you are. Will you sellout?”
- Rennie was a three-time All-American linebacker at 5’11”. That is unheard of. He played with heart and realized every bit of athletic potential that he had. We should all “sellout” to our family, friends, and our job. Our goal should be to reach our potential in every aspect of life.
“Life is about TEAMwork”
- Parents, coaches, teammates, support groups, coworkers, friends, and family are important. We are all in this life together.
“Make sure you leave everything you have on the field and in life”
- Rennie tried to make a comeback to the NFL this season, and he injured his knee in training camp. Although he was cut after the injury, he is at peace because he left everything out on the field.
- Life is too short. We should all strive to have the inner peace of knowing that we realized every ounce of talent and energy that we have, and be able to look back with no regrets.
Tony Watkins serves as the Executive Director at Northside Youth Organization in Atlanta, GA