By Teresa Varley
Defensive end Chris Hoke exudes energy, whether it be on the football field, hosting his football camp or simply reading a book to a group of school kids.
So it's no wonder when he went to Waynesburg Central Elementary School as part of Dr. Seuss Read Across America that he had the kids all fired up.
Hoke read a children's book about the Steelers, titled "Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go!" to the enthusiastic group and had as much fun reading it as they had listening to the two-time Super Bowl champion.
"I had a great time," said Hoke. "I like doing that stuff."
Hoke, who is the father of four young kids, didn't limit the visit to only reading the book. He shook hands with kids, posed for pictures and spoke to them sharing valuable insight.
"The one message I like to deliver is the future belongs to those who dream," said Hoke. "That has been my punch line since I have been in the NFL. I was one of those kids who dreamt about being in the NFL, who dreamt about being a Super Bowl champion. I wasn't one of those guys that was a first-round pick or won all kinds of awards. But I never let anybody tell me that I couldn't realize my dream. I always worked hard because I wanted to beat the odds and that's what I did."
Hoke will have another opportunity to deliver that message when he hosts his second annual Chris Hoke 76 Football Camp on June 12-13 at the Hopewell Area School District Athletic Complex in the Beaver County section of Western Pennsylvania.
The camp, which is open to kids ages 7-18, will cover all of the basic football skills.
"It will be a lot of fun," said Hoke. "The first time I was worried about everything going smooth. It did and we had a lot of fun. There is a lot of excitement in the Beaver County area for it."
Hoke takes a hands-on approach to the camp, getting involved in teaching and demonstrating all of the drills.
"I love being with the kids," said Hoke. "They are the future. They are the ones who are going to be playing the game when I am long gone. The little bit of knowledge that I have I am going to try and share some of my experiences with them. I like to go through the drills with them, interact with them, be a part of it with them and share the two days with them."
And as with anything he does, he wants to teach them a valuable lesson.
"I try to teach them to have fun with it and work hard," said Hoke. "There is no excuse for lack of hard work. You have to work hard, be a part of it and love what you are doing. I want to show them I still love the game and want them to as well."
For more information on the camp call 724-987-3445 or 412-389-7635.