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Inclement weather doesn't deter youths


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 21, 2001

Overcast skies and blustery winds Saturday morning didn't prevent nearly 500 youths from attending the Super Bowl Youth Clinic at Florida Power Park in St. Petersburg.

Twenty-eight NFL players, including seven Buccaneers, helped former Miami Dolphins receiver Nat Moore operate the event. Moore created the youth clinic 13 years ago.

"The players did a nice job, the kids had a great time and nobody got hurt, which is a blessing on this wet field," Moore said. "This is something that we're very proud of."

Each player operated a station, and groups of 15-20 children (ages 11-14) stopped at each station for about 15 minutes before rotating. The clinic lasted about three hours.

Brothers Willie (Saints) and Terry (49ers) Jackson each operated a station, as did brothers Damon and Brock Huard, quarterbacks for the Dolphins and Seahawks, respectively.

Brock's station was more instructional, as he guided each group through conditioning drills, while Damon frolicked, splitting each group into teams and playing quarterback for both sides.

"It was fun. We got to meet Jamie Duncan, Damon Huard, Yo Murphy -- they're nice guys," said Rashad Leaks, 12, of St. Petersburg, who attends Meadowlawn Middle School. "Damon Huard, it was fun with him. He's fun -- we just played football."

Dolphins kicker Olindo Mare taught the finer points of punting and kicking. Cowboys defensive back Ryan McNeil taught backpedaling and pass-coverage technique. Everybody signed autographs.

Other NFL players included Warren Moon (Chiefs) and Keith Newman (Bills), a 1995 Jefferson High graduate who was in eighth grade the last time the Super Bowl came to Tampa in 1991.

"It's always nice when you can come back and give something to the kids, especially being in the fortunate position we're in," Newman said. "It's a great time for the kids and a great time for us. It gives me memories of when I was a kid and I looked up to (NFL players)."

The clinic was the first of three. The second was Saturday afternoon at Legends Field in Tampa, and the third is at 2:30 today at Legends Field.

UNUSED TICKETS: Any unused tickets for Saturday's "NFL Experience" can also be used today. Tickets are $15 and $10 and can be purchased at the gate or by calling (866) TIX-4NFL. The NFL Experience features 50 NFL interactive exhibits and attractions and is taking place in the north parking lot of Raymond James Stadium today and Thursday-Sunday.

JINGLE ALL THE WAY: The St. Petersburg jingle writer who gave us Hey! Hey! Tampa Bay! has tried his hand at the Super Bowl. Jeff Arthur and his teenage son sat down at the table one day and wrote the Super Song. "Super Bowl, Tampa Bay. Where the world comes to play," is one line.

A jingle writer for 25 years, Arthur is not releasing his song on CD, but it will be available for free download on his Web site, www.JeffArthur.com.

GIANT PROFIT: According to the New York Times, one Giants player made a hefty profit by scalping his Super Bowl tickets. Each Super Bowl participant can purchase 15 tickets at $325 apiece. According to the report, the Giants player sold all of his tickets to brokers for $3,000-$5,000 each, a profit of more than $50,000.

The player also asked friends in the league (who are entitled to purchase two tickets apiece) if they wanted to sell, and at least one did. The Giants player said he bought those tickets for $1,800 apiece, then resold them to brokers for $5,000 each.

The biggest abusers of scalping, according to the NFL, is the news media. According to the report, the league has tracked a number of scalped ticket to sports journalists, including "some of the biggest names in the business."

COLD SHOULDER: The cold weather affected the inaugural Black Heritage Festival. Artist Kelvin W. Henderson couldn't believe how many people flocked by his tent Friday, but Saturday, it was a different story.

One woman hustled into a nearby Walgreens to buy $3 sweaters for her family; another man was seen buying a knit cap at a clothing booth and putting it on before the retailer even had time to get his change.

"Today the weather is definitely kind of cool," said Henderson, whose tent with his impressionist and abstract paintings was one of about 10 that lined the Franklin Street Mall, along with various food stands and a stage featuring various local Christian groups. "Yesterday the place was filled with people, people on their lunch break. It was great."

Henderson came to town recently for a Dunedin art show and was talked into staying to sell his wares at the festival. Despite the bad weather he was happy he did.

"It's really been pretty good," he said. "I think it will pick up a little later. People might be out shopping or waiting for the sun to come out. But the sales have been good."

Henderson runs an art studio in Suitland, Md.,* but admitted to being more a Redskins fan than a Ravens fan.

"I'm rooting for Baltimore," he said. "Got to root for the hometown boys. But I thought Washington would be here. I thought Deion (Sanders) was going to bring 'em on down."

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