LIHU‘E — Regina Carvalho, Kaua‘i’s First Lady, remembers taking her sons to Honolulu to attend the Brian Derby football camps.
“The mayor and I have a passion to go to the next level,” said Lenny Rapozo, director of the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation Friday during the opening of the Derby lineman clinic and the Hawai‘i Athletes In Action Combine at the Vidinha Stadium. “We know there are people who want their children to have the experience of taking any sport to the next level, but are prohibited by the cost of attending these camps on O‘ahu, or elsewhere.”
This passion brought the football clinic to Vidinha Stadium where Kaua‘i’s youth could take advantage of “the next level” for free. The football clinic and combine comes on the heels of the University of Hawai‘i soccer clinic last weekend and Rapozo is working on trying to establish similar programs in rodeo, baseball and basketball.
“This is the only place which put a camp together,” said Derby, who played at the University of Hawai‘i with Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. “If you are here, thank you. But whether there’s one player, a hundred, or a thousand, I’ll treat you the same. You get my full attention.”
Rapozo challenged the attendees Friday, primarily Kapa‘a High School linemen, to get on the phone and get others to attend.
“We, the County of Kaua‘i, brought this next level to you,” Rapozo said. “I challenge you to find the people to take advantage of what is available to you.”
Derby opened the clinic with help from Lua Tuiasosopo and her husband Ana, of the HAIA. Tuiasosopo told the campers that girls are the devil and relayed the story of a high school football player who had a whole road of scholarships ahead of him lose everything because of a girl.
“When I have this clinic for girls, I tell them boys are the devil,” she said, turning to Derby who outlined the four D’s of no drugs, drinking, dumb friends, and devils.Derby added “Your only girlfriend is your mother.”
Derby said that is only the beginning because no matter how good a football player a student is, if the student does not do his part in the classroom, he is not going anywhere.
“The first question college coaches ask is ‘How are his grades? How did he do on the SAT?’” Derby said. “They don’t ask about football abilities. They want to know how good a student you are.”
Brian Te‘o, a football coach from Punahou School and the father of Mantai Te‘o, a Notre Dame defensive player who headlines the 2012 Lott Trophy Watch List, continued the philosophy of football, presenting the ABC’s of the game.
Attitude determines altitude, he said. A poor attitude never gets anyone anywhere.
Be the change you want to see, he said. “If you want the team to be strong, be the strongest one on the team.”
Commit means when you have a choice of working on your craft, or not working on your craft, you need to make a decision, he said. Te‘o pointed out that Hawai‘i, as a state, knows how to commit because its people tend to care about “the next guy” and wanting that “next guy” to succeed.
Discipline means the most important things are the hardest to achieve. To illustrate Education, he asked a player to name his favorite car.
“If you don’t get the keys, that car is just going to sit in the driveway for you to admire,” he said. “The key is Education and without your parents, you’re not going anywhere.”
Te‘o said following the ABC’s of football will improve a person, a team and the community.
“Someone in the community can always use help,” said Kelvin Moniz, who, like Rapozo, doffed his referee’s cap in favor of the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank which received more than a 100 pounds of food from the Friday afternoon gathering. “Coach Derby doesn’t charge, but by asking for a donation of a canned good, it helps the community.”
Moniz said the KIFB receives about 12,000 emergency food requests a month and the contribution helps fill that need.
“Without the community, no one can help you,” Derby said.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.