James Butler Weekend special
Published 6:34 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The fourth annual James Butler Dream Foundation Weekend—featuring the former Bainbridge High School Bearcats football, basketball and track star— began with a Friday night All-Star basketball game at the Decatur County Memorial Coliseum.
A team of college and professional football players, led by Butler, edged a team of Bainbridge All-Stars 95-94.
One hundred and twenty-three children, ranging in age from 7 to 18, attended Butler’s Dream Foundation football camp at Centennial Field on Saturday morning. Camp participants ran through drills coordinated by college and professional football players, local coaches and volunteers at various stations on the field.
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Before sending the kids out on the field, Butler, whose Dream Foundation focuses on mentoring, education and youth leadership, gathered them in the Centennial Field stands and talked to them about the importance of character and always striving to do what is right.
BHS football and basketball coach Kelvin Cochran, who coached Butler in both sports helped coordinate the Dream Foundation events locally, talked about James and his great character.
“James has great character and he wants to come home and talk to the youngsters about the importance of it,” he said. “Some of the kids out here today will play football and some may not, but all of them will get the message of the importance of character in their lives.”
Former University of Georgia Bulldogs and current Cleveland Browns linebacker Arnold Harrison of Augusta, Ga., talked to the youngsters about priorities.
“A young man’s first priority should be getting his academics in order,” Harrison said. “I tell young aspiring athletes that they should work hard on the field and in the classroom. If they do that, they will build character.”
Other former Bearcats taking part in the camp were former University of Arkansas Razorbacks defensive lineman Malcolm Sheppard, who is now with the Tennessee Titans; former Bearcats and Arkansas offensive lineman Ray Dominguez, and former University of Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Darryl Gamble. Dominguez and Gamble are both aiming for a spot on an NFL roster whenever the league’s player lockout ends.
“The main thing I urge kids to do when I have an opportunity to talk with them is to stay positive and always strive to do their best whether they are in the classroom or on the field,” Sheppard said.
Butler, a starting defensive back with the St. Louis Rams, was a former starting defensive back with the New York Giants, who won the 2007 Super Bowl championship with a 17-14 victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona.