Legends Football Camp, day 2 in the books

What a difference a day makes. The first day of Legends Football Camp saw middle school age athletes being talked to as well younger children. Day two of the football camp saw the field littered with high school age athletes who were talked to on more of an adult level, as it should be. With older athletes come bigger expectations which means day two was more intense.

It was a sight to behold, watching former NFL players instructing high school football players. Not getting in faces or anything abrasive like that. But coming along the side of the children and working with them. Showing them the proper technique for whichever position they played.

That said players were moved around the field and given the opportunity to see how other position groups function. All the athletes did pre-drill exercises that are designed differently for each position. Meaning defensive linemen did not do the same pre-drill exercise as say quarterbacks.

Once the athletes made it through all the position exercises it was time to breakdown according to position. It was time to learn from former NFL players and hone the skills that each unit on the team needs in order to be a consistent football team.

Athlete attempts a field goal.
photo by Erin Wallace

The Legends Football Camp is very well run. Parents could sit in the bleachers and watch their child learn and grow. Some parents even would interact with some of the legends just seeing if there was anything else that could or would be beneficial as high school football practices are set to begin soon.

The smiles were abound on both athletes and the former NFL stars. One thing that was evident was to not let a mishap get the best of your emotions. A dropped pass is just that. It is not the end of the world. Even NFL Hall of Fame wide receivers have dropped many passes. The point is to shake it off regroup and try again.

Legends Football Camp founder Jeff Chadwick and his staff are to be commended. The camp offers so much to help athletes improve but also it helps with life lessons.

If you or someone you know attended the camp, please drop a comment and share with everyone your thoughts.

Legends Camp, day 1 in the books

The 2022 Legends Football Camp started out in a rain delay. Even the weather could not dampen camp attendees spirits. Legends Camp founder Jeff Chadwick saw his vision once again come to life. From a person who was roaming around listening to stories and seeing the awe and pure joy on middle school age children’s faces it became clear, the camp has become more polished.

As former players (some teammates and some NFL veterans) filtered into the sports complex in Clare, Michigan the handshakes and hugs showed just how tight a bond these former players have with one another. The stories they shared the laughs and concerns they showed one another was a reminder how we need relationships in life.

Jeff Chadwick Photo by Erin Wallace

The children were ready. I honestly believe they would have forged through the rain in that was the plan. The rain delay seemed to only make the build up more intense.

The players (who doubled as coaches) met with the children at the 50 yard line for introductions and a breakdown of the days plans and activities. Players got the children fired up.

First on the days docket was stretching some were met with “alright!” some were met with “oh man!” But, this is what parents signed the athletes up for, to learn from the best.

Players were separated into position pairings, where they were put through a series of drills. The smiles, focus, being upset after not getting a task done just right added to the fun.

In 2019 when the Legends Football Camp had just started up it was more a trial and error first outing. It is clear that Jeff Chadwick and his staff went over what went well and what needed polished. This year, rain aside the camp ran smoother. Some things were left out some things were added.

Honoring former police chief Brian Gregory. photo by Erin Wallace

There is a real community first feel to what the camp is doing. The proceeds from the Camp is going back into the community. In fact it was a very touching moment and heartfelt when the Legends Camp honored former police chief, Brian Gregory.

As far as the Legends camp has, it is clear the focus is on making it better. As a former Detroit Lions and NFL wide receiver, Jeff Chadwick knows it is important to continue to strive for perfection.

All and all it was a successful day 1. If you were at the camp drop a comment and share your thoughts.

 

Meet artist and photographer Erin Wallace, who will be lending her skills to the Legends Camp

A football camp is about to begin. Not just any football camp mind you, but a camp with former NFL players. The Legends Football Camp, in Clare Michigan is about ready to being two days of fun and incredible insight for camp attendees. Former Detroit Lions and NFL veteran Jeff Chadwick is the founder of the children centered camp. In a camp as big as this volunteers are needed. It is my pleasure to sit down with one volunteer who is and outstanding artist and photographer, Erin Wallace.

Erin Wallace

Erin, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Erin,  ” I have been a photographer for about 15 years and have dabbled in the creative world for my entire life. From music to sewing to most recently encaustic painting. I find much joy in all aspects of art. I am also a wife to an awesome writer (little old me, Brian) and three amazing adult children .”

That sounds amazing! Now let’s zero in on the Legends Camp for a moment, in an event this large what are some of the joys and challenges in taking photos?

Erin ” My favorite is interacting with people, from candid shots of pure joy to the action on the gridiron. Capturing moments of time allows me to bring enjoyment to others. My challenges…. those darn missed shots! But, I always take enough shots that we have really good images. That is coming from a recovering perfectionist.”

What does it mean to you to take time out of your schedule and personal life to volunteer for the Legends Camp or any event.

Erin “For the Legends Camp, I had so much fun volunteering the first time with my husband, that it was a no brainer to come back and do it again. In general, capturing moments and sharing them with others is where I find joy.”

One more question. Do you have preplanned shots you want to take or do you take advice from others and kind of morph your ideas with theirs?

Erin ” Typically with photoshoots or events, the client has an expectation that I, as a photographer, have a plan in mind. For Legends Camp, my expectation is to take a lot of action shots and the interaction with athletes and coaches. I am always open to feedback from clients on any special requests.”

Lotus bloom by Erin Wallace

Again for any camp, volunteers are the backbone. For Erin Wallace who is a very talented artist and photographer, part of her joy comes from the realm she loves. You can contact her for photography or encaustic painting classes here.

A look at the rest of the Detroit Red Wings 2022 Draft class

After drafting Marco Kasper #8 overall in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft, Detroit Red Wings GM, Steve Yzerman and his scouting department headed into day two of the draft still needing to fill more holes both on the Red Wings roster and in the organization. So let’s see just what was done to move the Red Wings closer to playoff contention.

BUFFALO, NY – JUNE 2: Dylan James #128 poses for a headshot at the 2022 NHL Scouting Combine on June 2, 2022 at LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

Armed with two second round draft picks Yzerman drafted two left wings (LW) a position of need to be sure. Dylan James and Dmitri Buchelinkov. Both players are close to being NHL ready. Both players like to push the tempo and force the puck into the greasy areas.

Marco Kasper, Dylan James and Dmitri Buchelinkov will give the Detroit Red Wings a fast trio who are as good in the defensive end as they are in the offensive end very soon.

Needing centers badly and depth at the position throughout the organization, Yzerman drafted five. The draft class is rounded out by Amadeus Lombardi, Maximilian Kilpen, Owen Mehlenbacher, Brennan Ali and big (6′ 4″) defensemen  Anton Johansson who I really like, even though he’s a couple years away from being NHL ready.

The bottom line: This was not the most flashy drafts by Steve Yzerman and his scouts. It did not have to be. This was a organizational filling draft. The Red Wings left the draft with some players (Kasper, James, Buchelinkov and Johansson) who as I said will help soon.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC – JULY 07: Marco Kasper poses for a photo onstage after being selected eighth overall by the Detroit Red Wings during the first round of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Yzerman, gave the organization overall help which it needs and has needed for a while now. There is zero reason to doubt Yzerman given his work in Tampa Bay and how he has built the Detroit Red Wings up to #2 in NHL prospects in just three years.

For me I give this draft class an overall grade of  B. The future of the Detroit Red Wings is very bright and it will happen every soon.

Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on the 2022 Detroit Red Wings Draft class.

 

The Detroit Red Wings select Marco Kasper #8 overall, what he brings to the team

Detroit Red Wings, GM Steve Yzerman has one trait he looks for more than any other when it comes to drafting players. It is not elite projections, nor is it purely goal scoring ability. Yzerman looks at “compete level,” almost exclusively. How does a player compete away from the puck or with the puck on his stick? Is he battling in the corners or does he shy away? One look at Marco Kasper, shows why the Red Wings made him the #8 overall pick in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC – JULY 07: Marco Kasper, #8 pick by the Detroit Red Wings, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Marco Kasper was and is viewed as the prospect in this years draft with the highest compete level. Keep that in mind. What Kasper lacks in elite hockey traits he more than makes up for competing game in and game out. Again, this is what Yzerman looks for.

Kasper can and has played all three forward spots on the ice. He is not flashy, but he does not need to be. The Red Wings have Dylan Larkin and Joe Veleno if they need some flash. So just what kind of prospect do the Red Wings have in Kasper? Let’s dive in.

Marco Kasper is a very good skater with very good speed and acceleration. Kasper has good strength and is hard to move off the puck. While he is not flashy when driving the puck up the ice, Kasper  is very effective driving the puck in front of the net. He sets his teammates up for success the way he is able to get them the puck.

Do not sleep on Kasper’s defensive game! He is a smart and responsible player, who handles the puck very well. He is not shy when it comes to battling for the puck in the corner or checking another player.

Marco Kasper, has the tools to be a top six forward. The question is can he reach that projection? If he does great. If he does not the Red Wings will have a very good center on the third line. Something they have needed for a while now.

This is a Steve Yzerman draft pick through and through. Marco Kasper is just what the Detroit Red Wings need. I give the draft pick a solid B. If Kasper reaches his top six potential the grade moves to an A.

Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts on Marco Kasper.

The Legends Camp will offer something refreshing for the community

Citizens have been opposed to law enforcing officers for a few years now. I am not going to rehash what some view as police brutality. It has become clear that a reset is needed. For communities and police officers and police departments to take a collective breath and figure out how to mend whatever division there may be. Next week at the Legends Football Camp, camp founder Jeff Chadwick and his staff have come up with a way that could bridge some peace.

Former Police Chief, Brian Gregory will be honored at the lunch break Wednesday, July 13th. Gregory who served the Clare, Michigan community for 30 years is certainly worthy to be honored given time spent.

As officers gather from Clare and outlying areas to honor a fellow officer it has the ability to calm the storm of uneasiness that has swept our nation. Those seem like heavy words and perhaps they are. But, one random act of kindness can go a long way. It can also help to heal.

Policeman

In 30 years of service it is safe to say that former Chief Brian Gregory has seen a lot, the good and the bad. Such is the life of a first responder. It is not only the fact that Gregory is a community public figure, but that through this current environment Gregory has stuck to his oath as an officer to protect the people of Clare.

For former Detroit Lions and NFL veteran Jeff Chadwick to choose to shine the spotlight on such a public figure is a random act of kindness that could start other cities and towns to do the same.

As a nation we need to set aside our differences and really look at all the facts and not just hop on the this person is bad bandwagon because “everyone is doing it.”

One aspect that I am grateful for, is that not only will the Legends Camp be honoring Officer Brian Gregory, not only will spectators look on, but that the children both athletes at the camp and those in the stands will also be looking on.

The next generation will see an officer being honored. Let’s all hope they carry that with them the rest of their lives.

 

With The Legends camp quickly approaching excitement is building

Remember when you were a child (you may very well be a child now) and something you were looking forward to seemed far off? As the months turned to weeks and then to days, the excitement built up until it reached a fever pitch. That is what current children who signed up for this years  Legends Camp are feeling. The camp is just around the corner.

Photo taken in Chicago, United States

Soon children, adults, brother, sisters and all athletes will begin to file into the Brookwood Athletic complex in Clare, Michigan. Popcorn, candy, other food will begin to fill the complex’s air. And then the moment that has been building for quite some time will unfold.

As athletes take their place to get the days instructions, former NFL players will start to filter into the complex. Adults will reminisce about the players and the time they played in the NFL. Children will feel a steady blend of anxiousness and awe as they look into faces that have played football at the sports most elite level.

The athletes will be broken down into position groupings. Wide receivers will go with other receivers, linebackers with linebackers, and so on. Friendships will be made and memories will become cherished as the years move on.

Former Detroit Lions and NFL wide receiver Jeff Chadwick  and his team of volunteers do an outstanding job in preparing for the camp. Every detail is covered the goal is to get children out of the house. It is also a great tool in helping athletes stay in shape and focused on the game. That way when time comes for football practice for the school they attend they have an upper hand of sorts, being that they took part in a camp taught by former NFL players.

LOS ANGELES – OCTOBER 1986: Jeff Chadwick #89 of the Detroit Lions runs upfield against the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California on October 1986. (Photo by Bernstein Associates/Getty Images)

While many spots have been filled, there is still a little room for a few more athletes. Make sure you check out Jeff Chadwick’s website in the link provided. There you will find a phone number to call for any and all questions.

As a writer, I am looking forward to the Legends Camp. To see athletes running around being put through a series reps under the watchful eyes of former players.

Are you or someone you know heading to the Legends Camp? Leave a comment and let people know why your excited for the even that happens July 13th and 14th

The Detroit Red Wings hire Derek Lalonde as head coach

It took a while, but Detroit Red Wings general manager, Steve Yzerman said it would. The Red Wings named Derek Lalonde head coach in a move that seems to be a perfect fit. Every team talks about “the process,” in what can only be described as refreshing yesterday at the introduction press conference Lalonde gave detail into his process to mold the Red Wings into a more consistent hockey team.

Hockey: Tampa Bay Lighting coach Derek Lalonde with Jon Cooper in his office after practice before game vs Toronto Maple Leafs at Amalie Arena. Behind the Scenes.
Tampa, FL 1/17/2019
CREDIT: David E. Klutho (Photo by David E. Klutho /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
(Set Number: X162440 TK1 )

Derek Lalonde is a winner. He has won and won big at every coaching stop he has made. Including with the Tampa Bay Lightning as that organization won back-to-back Stanley Cups and played for another this past season.

Steve Yzerman described Lalonde as checking all of his boxes as to what he was looking for in a head coach. Lalonde himself said he is a players coach but with a slight twist, he holds players accountable. Which any head coach should.

Onto what Derek Lalonde said was his own personal “process” in transforming the Detroit Red Wings, Lalonde said he wants to and needs to improve the teams defense. No truer words have been spoken. The Red Wings 3.78 goals against were second from the bottom in the NHL.

Next Lalonde moved onto the power play and penalty kill. The Red Wings were dead last in both of those areas. Next was to make the team harder to play against. The Red Wings have lacked fortitude and resilience and that needs to change.

Derek Lalonde mentioned a couple of other areas. But, the focus was centered around getting the Red Wings to play a more consistent brand of hockey. Which Lalonde has a history of doing.

This is the first NHL head coaching job for Derek Lalonde. Steve Yzerman is banking on a coach who has a history of connecting with players to help the Red Wings young core as they prepare to add more players in the coming days (2022 NHL Draft and free agency.)

DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 27: Former Captain Steve Yzerman addresses the media in advance of the Detroit Red Wings 1997 Stanley Cup celebration night before an NHL game against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena on December 27, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Jennifer Hefner/NHLI via Getty Images)

Keep this in mind, Steve Yzerman built a heck of a hockey team in Tampa Florida and hired Jon Cooper, who was also a first time head coach at the tie he was brought in. Steve Yzerman does not miss the mark. If he feels Derek Lalonde is the right guy, he is.

So how do you feel about the new Detroit Red Wings head coach? Drop a comment and let me know.

In time the Detroit Pistons look like they could be a problem

The Detroit Pistons are coming! GM, Troy Weaver has done some very good work in recent days to push the Pistons rebuild ahead. With the moves, the Pistons rebuild suddenly looks much better and the team should start to reflect that this season, though not necessarily in wins/losses and that is okay. What is okay is the Pistons future looks bright.

In the 2021 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons brought in Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State University. This season Troy  Weaver would begin to place more talent around Cunningham.

BROOKLYN, NY – JUNE 23: Jaden Ivey poses for a portrait after being drafted by the Detroit Pistons during the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Pistons picked #5 overall and selected Jaden Ivey, from Purdue. The guard will team with Cunningham and the duo will be one of the top backcourts in the NBA as they develop together and gain chemistry. Ivey, who has a lot of speed which allows him to be a dangerous player in transition should complement Cunningham’s skill set which will be fun to watch.

The Detroit Pistons traded Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers for a 2025 First Round Draft Pick. At first Piston fans moaned about the trade while Weaver sat back and formulated a plan so good that it caught many by surprise.

BROOKLYN, NY – JUNE 23: Jalen Duren poses for a portrait after being drafted by the Detroit Pistons during the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23, 2022 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)

Troy Weaver traded the 2025 first round draft pick to the New York Knicks for the #13 overall pick which the Pistons promptly got the big man they have been missing. Jalen Duren from the Memphis Tigers.

Duren who Troy Weaver locked onto is a good fit for the Pistons. While he does have some limits to his game, he fits well with what Weaver’s vision is for the Pistons and was a very good draft pick.

In a draft that saw Troy Weaver be both aggressive and exercise patience the Pistons core players now look dangerous (yes development needs to still take place,) Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren and Saddiq Bey give the team a solid foundation. One that in time will develop into a very good, fun team.

Troy Weaver absolutely nailed the draft. In fact the Detroit Pistons were this years biggest winner and it was not close.

 

The Detroit Tigers called up Riley Greene who rewarded the callup

Riley Greene who is the #2 ranked prospect in baseball, was called up Friday night by the Detroit Tigers. Saturday afternoon in Comerica Park, Greene made his Major League debut. Greene also provided the Tigers with some much needed life. So how does this help the team moving forward? I can only speculate.

For the free falling Detroit Tigers, Riley Greene was a shot in the arm. The Tigers have had a disastrous season to this point. Players not hitting has lead to the worst offense in the major leagues, while the pitching staff has been decimated with injuries. Such is sports.

DETROIT, MI – JUNE 18: Detroit Tigers CF Riley Greene (31) gets a hit in his first major league at bat during the game between Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers on June 18, 2022 at Comerica Park in Detroit, MI (Photo by Allan Dranberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Saturday afternoon, Riley Greene stepped to the plate and connected for his first MLB hit. Greene would go on to collect another hit and walk two time. He became the first Detroit Tigers to reach base four times in a debut since Scott Livingston in 1991, and first rookie since 2018 to reach the feet.

It is no secret Greene’s best friend is Spencer Torkelson. Torkelson has struggled in a big way his rookie season. Yesterday, with his best friend in the lineup Torkelson collected two hits.

Can one player make that big a difference? I actually believe they can. Being a top rated player in a system carries a heavy burden yet the good ones rise above and find a way to inspire teammates. Saturday afternoon saw the Detroit Tigers come to life.

Riley Greene has a sweet swing. One that has been compared to that of baseball Hall of Fame member, Ken Griffey Jr. What makes Greene so effective at the plate is his discipline. Greene does not chase many pitches out of the strike zone and is willing to go the opposite way if it means getting on base.

The one question when he was drafted fifth overall in 2019, was did he have the speed in center field to cover the huge outfield in Comerica Park. While that remains to unfold, at the very least Greene can play a corner outfield and be very effective.

LAKELAND, FL – MARCH 02: Riley Greene #53 of the Detroit Tigers looks on from the dugout and blows a bubble prior to the Spring Training game against the Boston Red Sox at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 2, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. The game ended in a 11-11 tie. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

It will be fun to watch the Detroit Tigers the rest of the season now that Riley Greene is on the team. While not a great season it will benefit the team moving forward.

How did you feel about Riley Greene’s debut? Drop a comment and let me know.