VANDALIA — The past, present, and future of Butler Aviator football met last week for the first Josh Betts Butler Aviator Football Camp. Nearly 60 Wee Aviators in grades K-8 joined current Aviators, the coaching staff, as well as Butler standout Josh Betts in four days of instruction and fun.
Under the direction of coach John Puckett, athletes were exposed to nearly every position on the field.
“Josh and I wanted to put something together for the kids where they were having fun playing the game of football,” said Puckett. “We wanted to learn about different positions and created a circuit where they got to learn all aspects of football. We wanted them to learn different skills in football and then talked to them about how football can be used to develop them as people. We wanted it to be a complete camp and I think we were able to do that this week.”
Those talks covered effort, attitude, hustling from one drill to another, being coach-able, keeping grades up, and responding the right way to winning and losing.
Betts said that with young children and professional commitments, its hard to get back to Vandalia as much as he likes. The football camp was a way to come back and give something to the program.
“It’s tough to get back as much as I like, but when Coach Puckett reached out to me I couldn’t say no,” he said. “Football, unlike any other sport, there is a camaraderie – it takes all 11 guys every play for it to work. No other sport is like that. You only have 10 games under the lights in front of your family and friends, and that is special. This is a chance for me to get these young kids excited about the game.”
Puckett said having Betts at the camp was a great addition, especially considering he was driving from Columbus each day while balancing work commitments.
“His energy level was to another degree – the guy is contagious,” said Puckett. “The kids, little and older, wanted to be around him. People just gravitate towards him. His knowledge of the game, especially the quarterback position, is just amazing. He learned behind Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, his football knowledge and IQ was off the chart. But one of the things he impressed me the most was when he talked to the kids about the importance of their grades.
“People talk about his (Betts) athletic ability, he was a great high school athlete, but he also had a 4.1 grade point average and was a member of the National Honor Society. The guy is a complete person and he talked to the kids about how you can’t do anything in sports without grades and you can’t do anything in life without focusing on the classroom, listening to teachers and coaches. He’s a sharp guy – it’s not just football with him.”
The Aviators will now turn their focus to two-a-day practices that begin on Monday, July 30.
“This summer has flew by,” said Puckett. “I’m anxious to be able to go at each other in a physical setting. I want to see how our kids respond to tough situations as they mentally take on someone physically. I’m excited for this team. These kids have given everything to us this summer. Everything we have asked them to do they have embraced with a great attitude. I’m really excited for these kids – the future is bright for them, and not just athletically. These kids are going to be good guys.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.