Yellow Jackets show some sting and big smiles at camp

Players run relay races last week at the Yellow Jackets’ free three-day football camp in Selma. (Michael Held photo)

BY MICHAEL HELD

Sports editor

SELMA—Cleades Sanders has coached recreation football for Selma Parks and Recreation going on 20 years. Just one minute observing him instruct and encourage players will tell you why he comes back year after year.

He absolutely loves it.

So, too, did a record 101 kids aged 6 to 14 during the Yellow Jackets’ free three-day football camp last week at Brack Wilson Park in Selma.

Introducing kids to the game and providing an opportunity for more experienced players to get up and moving in a fun environment are nice, but Sanders sees a bigger purpose for the camp.

“Just bringing the community together… it’s so important to me,” said Sanders, a former Smithfield-Selma High School football standout and Selma native. “During the year, in parks and rec, you’re either playing against your neighbor or your brother. This is the one time where everybody is on one team, one accord, one family.

“No parents are bragging about a win that night. Either we lose as a group or we win as a group.”

Once offered a scholarship to play football at Fayetteville State University, Sanders’ playing days were abruptly cut short due to a knee injury.

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