'Dream big' NFL star tells students
Instead of being dropped off by his mom like he is most mornings, Kamren Loof-Cote rode to school in style on Thursday.
After all, how many Grade 7 students get to show up to school riding in a big, black stretch limousine?
And instead of his mom dropping him off, it was an NFL player acting as his chaperone.
Kamren, 12, was one of four winners from across the country as part of NFL Canada’s Take a Player to School Program.
Seattle Seahawks defensive back Marcus Trufant, an eight-year NFL veteran with the Seattle Seahawks, rode along with Kamren and three of his best friends, Colton Poohachoff, Brendan Starnes and Troy Durkin.
The limousine dropped the students off at H.D. Stafford Middle School, where Kamren is a Grade 7 student, for a special assembly.
Trufant, who grew up in Washington state and attended Washington State University on scholarship, was the Seahawks’ first round pick, 11th overall in the 2003 NFL Draft.
“You were probably expecting a big, tall buff guy,” he told the several hundreds Stafford students sitting in the bleachers. “I just have to be quick out there.”
Trufant is 5’11” and 197 pounds.
“It is OK to dream big. If you have a dream, you just have to stay focused, and do the extra,” he said.
“People will have the same dream, but they might not have the same drive or work ethic.
“You can do anything you put your mind to.”
The way to succeed is to surround yourself with the right people.
“Listen to the people in your corner,” he said about parents, teachers and coaches. “They have your best interests at heart.”
Growing up in Tacoma, Trufant played several sports, before ultimately deciding to concentrate on football.
He first played the game in Grade 5.
“The sport kind of chooses you,” he said when a student asked him why he picked football. “And I love the sport and had passion for it.”
Bullying was another topic he touched on.
“Bullying is not cool, I don’t care if you are big or small, to put that kind of pressure on somebody and make them uncomfortable is not cool at all,” he said.
Trufant also discussed the importance of being healthy and active and eating right, especially limiting unhealthy foods.
Trufant admitted cookies and doughnuts are his weakness.
This is the fourth year Trufant has participated in the program. Last year, he visited a school in Surrey.
“It is very rewarding to be a part of the program,” he said prior to the assembly.
“You are promoting all of the good things: doing well in school, being a good person, following your dreams.
“I think it is a good deal all around.”
The topics he discussed are issues central to Trufant’s beliefs.
“All of those things are very important to me; I have kids myself,” he said.
“All of things I talked about today, I would say to my own (three daughters).”
Trufant also unveiled Stafford’s provincial tier II football championship banner, which the Grade 8 team won back in November. It is the school’s first championship banner in any sport. He also presented the players with their championship shirts.
Kamren found out he won the online contest, which his mom Kim Loof had entered him in, back in January.
It has made for an exciting start to 2011 for the avid roller hockey player, as last month Kamren and his teammates on the Westcoast Warriors won the gold medal at the North American roller hockey championships (NARCh) in San Jose.
Kamren admitted he didn’t sleep very much the night before, tossing and turning throughout the night.
And despite not going to school for the morning, he was still up at 7 a.m. waiting for Trufant and the limousine to arrive. That didn’t happen until 9:30 a.m.
The other Canadian contest winners were from Saint John, N.B., Edmonton, Alta., and Barrie, Ont.