Pottsville Apaches head football coach Bryan Rust has wanted a youth football and basketball camp at Pottsville for a long time.
In fact, one almost happened in 2020 -- but then the coronavirus sidelined everything.
"We had a little future Apaches camp last week," Rust said. "We had football in the early mornings and basketball in the early afternoon. It's a program-growing thing. Something we talked about doing for years. We were in the stages of it before everything kind of went South about a year and a half ago."
For Rust, it's about growing future Apaches, but it's also about giving kids opportunities to excel and participate in multiple sports.
"We've had some good success in football and basketball with good groups coming through and never really worried about it," Rust said. "But to me, there has been so much talk about kids specializing in one sport or another, whether it be football, baseball or basketball, and that seems to be a growing trend, and I just don't think that's a very good way for kids to go through it."
Kids should be kids, Rust said. And sports should be fun. Students should participate in every sport they want to play without worrying about how it may affect another sport.
"When you talk about 1-2 percent of kids getting to play college sports, it really should be more about these kids getting as many experiences as they can," Rust said. "Take my own kid. He didn't want to do basketball because he said he couldn't dribble and couldn't shoot, but it's not about how good you are. It's about the experience and being on the team and being a part of it. I'm getting old now, but I just grew up in a time and place where football was king, and even then I tried to play every other sport I could. I just think kids who love sports need to play everything they possibly can because you only get one trip through high school."
Rust said he and Apaches basketball coach Garrett Hill work together to schedule offseason workouts so kids can easily participate in both sports.
"As coaches, we have put all this stuff on kids to make all these workouts, and you have to do all this stuff and that can make it hard for kids to do multiple sports just because the demands are totally different than they were 10-15 years ago."
There was also a simultaneous girls camp for basketball and volleyball.
"I've always kind of felt that way," Rust said. "It's hard when you have a kid doing multiple sports and not have them just completely and totally wore out."