Tackling Hope

Whaley brothers host emotional football camp


Former Madisonville High School football stars Alonzo and Chris Whaley hosted the Sixth Annual Hope For Youth Football Camp at Mustang Stadium on Thursday and Friday. The camp included Kindergarten through grade five participants in the morning and grades six through 12 in the afternoon.

“It is always successful when you have attendees and people who are willing to help run the camp,” said Alonzo. “As long as you have those things, it will be a successful week. We had about 60-70 kids attend despite other things going on such as vacation bible camps and an AAU basketball tournament.”

Alonzo was also pleased to see that individuals who attend the camp are expecting more from it as the years go by. He is noticing more attention to detail and believes the overall atmosphere has grown as well.

The Whaley brothers have coordinated the camp since its inception in 2014 with the help of their friends. Alonzo played college football for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers from 2008-12 while Chris played his college ball with Texas. Chris also spent time with the Dallas Cowboys after four seasons as a Longhorn.

Lessons learned through sports can often translate to real life. The Whaley brothers, who have reached the pinnacle of theirs, know this all too well. The idea of the Hope For Youth Football Camp is to give hope to the community’s youth outside of football, through football.

“You do not think about how those things factor into everyday life until you are an adult,” said Alonzo. “We want to instill those basic concepts like cheering on others, having your teammate’s back and being part of a team, those things certainly factor into adulthood but you may not realize it as a kid.”

The camp teaches these lessons by breaking the barriers of sport and relating them to everyday life scenarios. One of the biggest points of emphasis is the value an education plays in the life of a young person.

From a football standpoint, the camp focused on basic fundamentals for the younger group and position-specific drills for the older participants. The camp was originally named Hope For Youth Football Camp because the Whaley brothers wanted to draw attention away from the fact that they were involved and focus on something greater than sports.

The Whaley brothers gave a $500 scholarship to a graduate of MHS last year and plan to do so again for the Class of 2020. They would also like to thank their wives as well as all of those who assisted with the 2019 edition of the Hope For Youth Football Camp.