Bennett scores with local kids

Last weekend saw an NFL star grace these shores.

Dallas Cowboys tight-end Martellus Bennett was here as part of a free one day flag football camp.

The camp went off last Saturday at the Cayman International School Field at Camana Bay from 12noon until 3:30pm.

Put on by the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association and One 345 Designs the camp focused on kids aged 8-14.

Hundreds of kids came out to compete in a variety of drills that focused on basic areas such as passing, receiving and footwork.

Bennett spent most of the day hanging out with the kids playing schoolyard games like ‘duck, duck, goose’ and freeze tag and taking a moment to discuss youth diabetes prevention.

The towering, muscular pro talked about how he came here.

‘This is my first time in Cayman. I talked to Luigi [Moxam, Executive Director of One 345 Designs] about coming down and he worked things out. I got acquainted with him through his sister who I knew well.’

The Texas native, like many tourists who visit the island, was enchanted by its sun, sand and people.

‘It’s beautiful here. I had a great time. The people here are free-spirited and I really like that. I just love the vibe here.’

Seeing the second round NFL draft choice out of Texas A and M act so playful and gentle with the kids was a startling contrast to the mirage of body tattoos and dirty south drawl he displayed on the surface.

But from talking with the young man, who just turns 22 next month, it’s easy to pick up on a comedic and down-to-earth attitude that seemingly didn’t change from his younger days growing up in the tiny town of Alief.

Through all the playfulness however Bennett found time to spot talent here that could hang with the big boys abroad.

‘For me talent is everywhere no matter where you’re from,’ Bennett said. ‘You just got to showcase it. Football is football, once you teach the game, that’s it because talent takes over from there.

‘Out here talent is everywhere. All that needs to happen now is they got to perform and get exposure.’

Another part of the day’s festivities was a brief talk on HIV/AIDS awareness. The issue was raised as part of Moxam’s proposed Tink Again campaign that deals with the subject along with the idea of youth empowerment.

Bennett did not say much about the subject but revealed that he feels the campaign and the issue can gain more ground abroad.

‘It’s a great cause and represents a voice that needs to be heard. Pretty soon it will be a big thing.’

On the other hand Bennett was coy as to whether it could catch on in a big arena like the NFL.

‘You never know with the NFL. I hope they embrace it.’

As many football fans know, Bennett is a small part of the Dallas Cowboys team that went 9-7 last year, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the season finale.

However the team failed to reach the postseason and Bennett was one of many who were not too pleased with that result.

‘It was an upsetting season. Our goal was to go to the Super Bowl and we knew going in the season would not be a success without it. But it’s over.

‘As far as the Eagles go I really don’t care. A team is a team. I just play.’

Ultimately Bennett had a good time in Cayman and intends to come back in the future with big names.

‘I’m happy to be part of it and I’ll bring more players in the future. I’ll definitely talk to guys like Tony Romo and Terrell Owens about coming down here.’