|By Sally Tippett Rains
We love it when we see successful athletes come back to their communities and help mentor the next generation. We often see Howard Richards and Isaac Bruce out in the community. Recently Markus Golden gave back to his community.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Markus Golden who graduated from Affton High School in 2010 was recently back at his alma mater putting on a football clinic for kids.
It was a free two-hour camp and open to Kindergarten – 12th grade. They are broken into two different groups, K-5 in the morning and 6th-12th grade in the afternoon; and then broken down again into their grade level to do different stations working on fundamentals and skills.
The camp at Affton was started by Golden five years ago and is a huge success. He gets his football friends to come and volunteer.
“They have a variety of volunteer coaches from junior football league, Affton High School Football Coaches, other high school coaches, Mizzou players, and NFL players and coaches,” said Emily Grozdanic whose son Leo attended this year. “Each kid walked away with a swag bag.”
Leo Grodzanic is shown in the photo, left with Golden.
Each camper felt like they got got to know an NFL player as Golden approached all of the kids during their station work and chatted with them. Each one had the opportunity to get a picture with him as well as his autograph. They were able to get autographs from the other coaches at the camp also.
“They also raffled off five autographed footballs– each camp participant got a raffle ticket,” said Emily Grozdanic who went to Affton High School and still lives in the District. “Markus graduated a few years behind me, so I don’t know him personally, but my brother played football with him in high school for a few years.This was our first year doing the camp and our son Leo absolutely loved it. We will definitely be back next year.”
Though he has gone on to become a successful player in the NFL Markus Golden doesn’t forget his days at Affton.
He ran into Daniel Crum who was a student at Affton at the same time. They were friends and student athletes at the same time.They are shown together in the photo, right.
Crum, who even though he is legally blind, due to going through childhood cancer, was able to play on the Affton Golf team. Crum has kept up with Markus throughout his career and Markus Golden even signed a football for Daniel to donate to a Rainbows for Kids charity event.
Daniel’s mom spotted the football player and wondered if he would remember her son, but Markus was very happy to see him and said, “I’ll never forget my buddy Daniel.”.
“The camp was so well run and I love that Markus gives back to the community that raised him,” said Emily Grozdanic. “His message to the kids at the end of camp is so sweet.
“He reminds them that they cannot continue to play football if they don’t work hard in school and listen to their parents and coaches. A great role model for the kids to work hard and pursue your dreams.”
Affton’s head football coach Tony Muyco told KMOV: “The best thing about Markus is he’s very humble and grateful.”
After the camp, Golden headed over to Fans 590 to appear on Frank Cusumano’s Press Box radio show.
The photo, left is courtesy Howard Richards, who is shown in the photo with Golden and Craig Riggins.