Friday, June 09, 2017

Anamosa football: Giving back

Former Anamosa standout and current Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl offensive lineman Marshal Yanda points while a camper makes a cut during a drill Wednesday, May 31, as Yanda hosted his second football camp in Anamosa.

June 8, 2017
By Daryl Schepanski

ANAMOSA — It didn’t take the kids who attended the Marshal Yanda youth football camp Wednesday, May 31, very long to figure out why the former Raider superstar is considered the best at his position in the NFL today.

“You could really tell he loves what he does,” said Anamosa eighth grader Nathan Keating, son of Pat and Becky Keating who posted the winning bid at the Anamosa School Foundation auction bringing Yanda’s services to the football field for their son and several of his lucky friends.

“I knew it was going to be fun to meet Marshal Yanda, but it turned out to be even better than I thought it would be. Doing all the drills he set up for us and the message he gave us at the end telling us how important school is and to take advantage of opportunities, because we may not get a second chance. This was something I’ll never forget.”

For Yanda, the school foundation football camp was a chance for him to once again give a little something back to his school and his former community.

“I love coming back home and getting to know the next athletes in Anamosa,” said Yanda, who will be entering his 11th season with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens this fall.

“Any chance I can get to give back to my school, I want to do it. This football camp is fun for me, too. Hopefully, it’s something I can do for a few more years yet.”

Yanda, who 11 years into his career, said he’s in better shape now than he was as an Iowa Hawkeye, and much better than he was as an Anamosa Blue Raider.

“It’s all about the work ethic,” Yanda told the 10 Anamosa youth who attended the camp during a very poignant meeting just before the camp came to an end.

“The reason I’m in the NFL and have had the career I have is because of my work ethic. There is nothing given at the big-time college level, and especially the NFL. There are guys out there busting their butts to take your job in the NFL every day. It’s a high stakes game. If you take a day off, or even a play off, you could lose your job. I want to make sure I’m keeping what I have and that means out-working everyone else on my team and everyone else I’m playing against every single day.”

Yanda also made sure the youth campers knew the importance of school, and the role education plays in sports.

“School was something I didn’t take too seriously when I was in Anamosa,” he said. “I don’t want you guys to make the same mistakes I did.

“Because I didn’t take school seriously, I didn’t have a lot of options when it came to playing football at the college level. D-I schools wouldn’t touch me because of my grades, but I got a second chance by going to junior college, and I figured a lot of things out and started making better choices.”

Yanda also wanted the kids to know, dreams can indeed come true.

“I did it, so can you,” he said. “But it’s going to be up to you. Listen to your teachers. Listen to your coaches, and take advantage of that opportunity when it comes, because if you miss it, unlike me, you may not get a second chance.”

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