Cards Give Back – American Football Without Barriers Camp

Donovan Pleasant, 13, an eighth-grader at Ramsey Middle School, has a one-on-one session with Gary Barnidge, a co-founder of the American Football Without Barriers youth football camp, during practice Saturday June 25, 2016 at the University of Louisville's Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Donovan Pleasant, 13, an eighth-grader at Ramsey Middle School, has a one-on-one session with Gary Barnidge, a co-founder of the American Football Without Barriers youth football camp, during practice Saturday June 25, 2016 at the University of Louisville’s Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

AMERICAN FOOTBALL WITHOUT BARRIERS CAMP AT U OF L

I photographed the American Football Without Barriers Camp at U of L Saturday for the Sunday, June 26, 2016 edition of The Courier-Journal. Many thanks to Kasey Mathes, our UL media contact for feeding me names! She was awesome to have near.

It was hot in the midday sun beaming down on Papa John’s Stadium. But the former UL football players/current NFL players were cool as could be running practice drills for the city’s future football greats, and the kids were sweating hard and loving it. So were Angela Shoemaker, shooting video, and I, as we worked the scene. Mopping my brow between periods of shooting, I’d find Angela taking refuge in the shade. Time to join her, and give her hell for taking a break. This was supposed to be held in the Trager Indoor Center, but it had AC issues, and the kids could say they played on the stadium field.

Donovan Pleasant, 13, an eighth-grader at Ramsey Middle School, fist bumps Gary Barnidge, a co-founder of the American Football Without Barriers youth football camp, Saturday, June 25, 2016 after a one-on-one session at the University of Louisville's Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Donovan Pleasant, 13, an eighth-grader at Ramsey Middle School, fist bumps Gary Barnidge, a co-founder of the American Football Without Barriers youth football camp, Saturday, June 25, 2016 after a one-on-one session at the University of Louisville’s Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

In the midst of all the group drills, one student was getting one-on-one attention from one of the camp co-founders, ex-Card and current NFL player Gary Barnidge. Barnidge led the kid through at least four different drills down in a corner of the field. I got the student’s name, Donovan Pleasant, 13, an eighth-grader at Ramsey Middle School, after the first one and kept looking back to find them doing something else. At the end of their time together, I captured them doing a fist bump.

I caught Barnidge walking across the field and asked, “How did that kid end up with a personal session with you?” He looked off smiling and said, “Yeah, I should send him a bill for $4000,” and went on to explain that he wasn’t paired with any other players, so he had nothing else to do. “The kid asked me, so I worked with him.”

I found Donovan Pleasant again before their lunch break as I was leaving. I told him how awesome that was – he worked out with an NFL player! I pointed out that he had asked for what he wanted and got it, and to remember to always do so in the future. How could he forget?

See the whole gallery of images in my archive: Cards Give Back – American Football Without Barriers Camp