Throughout Louisiana, the sights and sounds of Friday Night Lights and many other sports are in jeopardy this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But a former LSU football standout is doing his part to help local families provide their student-athletes with additional opportunities.
Baton Rouge native Darry Beckwith helped LSU football win the national title in 2007. These days he’s a champion for area youth through his foundation.
“What we want to let high school student-athletes know is this is another identity for you,” Beckwith said. “If you don’t have sports, you can still be just as successful.”
Blake Thompson and Chris Washington are just two of hundreds of student-athletes who have participated in the Darry Beckwith Foundation, which aims to provide valuable learning experiences like preparing for a job interview or writing a check and important discussions on topics like mental health.
Beckwith added, “These are things that i want them to get exposed to, that they can take in the real world and let them know that sports is what you do but it’s not who you are.”
“At the beginning I didn’t really want to do it, but after doing it for a while and seeing what he had to offer, doing things with him I appreciate it,” Blake Thompson. “It’s something a lot of kids need.”
Chris Washington added, “Definitely take advantage of it. Most people our age overlook it, they don’t think they need it but it really does help.”
Since COVID hit, the foundation’s Blitz Initiative has gone virtual, and tomorrow certified nutritionist Amy Johnson will provide tips on how nutrition helps sports performance.
“How to eat properly, to to protect your immune system,” Beckwith said. “So I do think it’s going to be beneficial for these kids, they can apply it to their everyday lives. and it’s free and open to everyone. female athletes, male athletes, high school from 9th to 12th grade, so I encourage student athletes to sign up.”
For soon to be seniors like Blake and Chris, the foundation is providing meaningful experiences during this time of uncertainty.
“With the situation now, saying there may not be a season, so you have to say what can I backtrack on?” Thompson asked. “What am I going to go for school for? What is my major going to be? How am I going to go about it if they don’t have football?”
Washington added, “Darry showed me that football is not the only way to be successful in life. There are other paths of things I can do if football is not the path for me.”The Blitz Initiative series zoom calls are free with Thursday’s session at 2:00pm. You can still register online HERE.