The 2013 NFL Kickoff is tonight starting with the defending Super Bowl Champs the Baltimore Ravens taking on the Denver Broncos. What better way to kickoff the season then by chatting with two-time Super Bowl Champion, and sports parent Rosevelt Colvin.
Rosevelt was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1999, played for the Bears, the New England Patriots, and the Houston Texans. Some of his best years were spent playing linebacker for the Patriots, where he won two Super Bowl rings during the process.
Reaching the top but not forgetting where it all starts
I was able to chat with Rosevelt about his NFL playing days, Super Bowl experience, and his life after football as an entrepreneur and sports parent
of four. As a sports parent I've enjoyed watching him teach, mentor, and coach kids, including my two sons, here in Indianapolis.
He has reached the pinnacle of his profession, but still loves the purity of it all when it comes to young athletes and youth sports. Check out some of my chat with Rosevelt Colvin
Tell us about your experiences winning two Super Bowl Championships.
Rosevelt: The Super Bowl is the greatest sports spectacle on earth, especially in the U.S. As young kids in the states you grow up watching them. The first (Super Bowl) experience was bitter sweet as I was only able to participate in non-football activities because I broke my hip.
The next year I was able to regain my physical stature as a football player. I was placed back in the starting lineup, and I was able to start in the Super Bowl. As a team we were able to go the Super Bowl again and win back to back championships.
How has winning the Super Bowl changed your life.
Rosevelt: That was huge for me, because as a young man growing up playing pop warner and through college, you want to be the best of the best in your sport. You want to reach the pinnacle, and to become a champion was an unreal experience that I will never forget. It is an experience I will cherish forever.
As an inner city kid from Indianapolis it was something I never really desired was to be a pro athlete. I just took advantage of opportunities I was given.
How do you view the state of the game today in regard to younger kids and safety, and programs like USA Football's Heads Up program?
Rosevelt: The NFL owners have an investment they need to protect. I won't necessarily say we were taught wrong as younger kids. There were some things we didn't have like proper fitting equipment or the tools that are available today for kids. Now, they (the NFL) want a process, programs, and policies to keep athletes and players from putting themselves in harmful positions.
The Heads Up initiative is to show young men how to protect themselves and to not use their heads to strike, but focusing on the techniques. I am an ambassador of the Heads Up program. Locally, here in Indy, we have a few little league programs involved. This gives us adults a chance to teach children at an early age like they do in other sports like baseball, basketball, soccer.
Heads Up football is a great initiative to help kids develop proper techniques at an early age. The NFL does a great job with not only partnering with USA Football and Heads Up, but also flag football programs. They are teaching different ways to learn and develop in the game of football without having pads and a helmet on, or without having to make contact with someone.
You have four kids, what sports do they play?
Rosevelt: Xavier (16) is a junior starting linebacker for his high school. Nijah (14) is a freshman cheerleader, track runner, and is considering volleyball. Raven (10) runs track and loves dance. Myles (8) will be the tallest and probably most athletic, as he just turned 8, but is the size of 10 year old. He plays football, basketball, and runs track.
We love it! We love the innocence and purity of youth sports.
What do you say about the trend in youth sports today?
Rosevelt: More and more parents are seeing the dollar signs, or what they can benefit from their child, or being connected to a child who may become that "next one." Everybody wants that, and thinks there child is "the one."
So, who is really out here competing...the parent or the child? Are they (kids) benefiting from this push?
A lot of parents are living their dreams through their kids or fulfilling their financial desires through the kids, and not allowing their kids to enjoy their sport, or just be a kid. It creates a bunch of spoiled kids, or kids who just don't want to do anything because their parents are forcing them. Although you do get kids who enjoy being out there, who enjoy all the playing (experience) they get.
But overall, doing it in moderation is key. As a parent you have to make sure you understand it is not about you, and make sure you choose the best way to help your kid be successful. And success is not just being the #1 draft pick.
Success may be the lessons learned from sports that will allow them to be a biz owner, the best CEO they can be, or a part-time or hourly employee that arrives on time and does what they are suppose to be.
What type of sports parent are you?
Rosevelt: I am hands-on. Because of my professional experience I have a lot of influence with my sons, in particular with football. And I love basketball as much as I do football.
Me and my buddies always coach our boys. Not that we try to not to make them the best player ever, but we teach them the fundamentals of the game, respect of authority, refs, officials, and make sure they understand what hustle means.
I'm a hands on coach and father. I try to give my kids the necessary tools to help them be successful. I'm not a big track guy, so I may be able to find a coach who can help them be better at track. They may have general athlete questions and things I can help with in that case. But I want them to learn about taking care of themselves, their body, and to help them be ready to be their best.
I also teach them to make their education a priority. I am sitting here as a 36 year old man - today is actually my birthday. I honestly feel like I could still be playing football, but injuries didn't allow. I know there are guys out there playing football who have no idea how to play football, but are out there because of potential. I would be in my 15th year if not for injuries, so I know you have to have something to fall back on.
Would you consider private coaching for your kids?
Rosevelt: I think you have to assess your child first. When it comes to football I think I have great expertise. But when it comes to my 16 year old son he really doesn't want to listen to what I have to say although he plays LB, my position. He wants outside training, which I allow because ultimately I want to give him an opportunity to enjoy sports and become successful.
I don't object to private training. My kids run track, and I am not a track guy. My son plays basketball and I coach, but at some point I will have to step back once he gets past 3rd or 4th grade.
What is really important is instilling in them hard work, because other coaches may only teach them the basics, not necessarily hard work and respect. They have to understand they need to work at it. I'm open to anything that will help my child benefit from the experience.