Taking a break from the stage lights, Garth Brooks was under the sun and on the field Saturday at Clovis High School’s football field for a youth sports camp.
About 100 kids from Clovis Unified and the Boys and Girls Clubs were treated to a day of training and team building.
Another special guest, Fresno State alumnus and former NFL player Stephen Spach, joined Brooks to bring fun to the kids.
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A youth camp is set up during every stop in Brooks’ world tour and close to 50 camps have been held, said Zach Williams, 25, of Cincinnati, the camp operations coordinator. Williams said ProCamps does nearly 200 youth sport camps each year with athletes as special guests.
Said Brooks, “The one thing I hope they take from here is love.” He shared that message with the kids when he was called on to speak to the young crowd as they sat on the field following team-building activities.
It’s not just important; it’s the most important thing I’ve ever gotten to be a part of.
Garth Brooks, talking about youth sports camps
He spoke to the kids about the importance to love each other. Brooks said he wants them to see past anything that may divide them.
“I hope that somebody comes here and leaves with a new friend that they didn’t have,” Brooks said.
Spach, a Clovis High graduate, said he was glad for the chance to join Brooks at the camp at his alma mater.
Williams said Spach is the first athlete to attend a camp as a native of the hosting city and school.
“I feel very blessed to be here,” Spach said. He remembered when an older brother also played football at Clovis High and Brooks’ music was blasted during games.
Spach called Brooks a legend and said he was pleased to join him in giving disadvantaged kids a “fair start” to their sport career dreams.
Clovis resident Martha Rubalcaba, 42, sat in the stands as her 9-year-old daughter ran back and forth in organized team relays.
She loves anything that has to do with sports, so she was really excited about (the camp).
Martha Rubalcaba, whose daughter participated in the camp
Rubalcaba said her daughter, who attends Cedarwood Elementary School in Clovis, is very active in sports like basketball, cross country and track.
“She loves anything that has to do with sports, so she was really excited about (the camp),” Rubalcaba said.
An admitted “big fan” of Brooks’ music, Rubalcaba did not realize the singer had attended the camp. She said her daughter never mentioned it and she never would have noticed him because he was dressed casually and not in the type of clothing he wears when performing: “I had no idea who that was.”