April 27, 2022

Camping Trip

It’s almost that time of year again: camp season.

Before you know it, the Stampeders will be taking to the field for a plethora of practices to kick off the 2022 football calendar.

And not long after that, you can bet some Stamps fans will be heading to the mountains with their sleeping bags to pitch a tent in the wilderness.

That’s what summer bye weeks around here are for, right?

This past weekend, Tre Roberson and Richie Sindani actually got a head-start on most everyone else, making a trip south to a camp in Pincher Creek.

The Stampeder Spring Football Camp, that is, put on by the Pincher Creek Mustang Football Society.

“Tre had been in their 2018, his first year in Calgary, so he was a little bit more familiar with how things were going to run,” recapped Sindani, who just made his rookie debut as a guest coach of sorts at the Matthew Halton High School field. “He and I split duties in terms of setting up drills and passing down knowledge that we have to the kids. It was nice to let the kids know where they stand now and where they can get to if they put the work in. The kids were really receptive to Tre and me.”

For the 17th consecutive year – save for the dreaded 2020 and 2021 – a pair of Stamps players have made the two-plus-hour drive to help coach up pee wee, bantam and high school players from all around Southern Alberta during the two-day event. Past appearances have been made by now-former Stampeders Rob Cote, Charleston Hughes and Anthony Parker, among many others.

The 39 youth participants from this year’s group made the trip from the communities of Bow Island, Crowsnest Pass, Lethbridge and Taber, in addition to Pincher Creek. Elkford, B.C., was also represented at the Friday and Saturday sessions.

Offering his expertise to the next generation of players is significant for Sindani, especially considering how he was first introduced to the game.

“It means a lot to me because I picked up the game a little bit later in my life, when I was 12, and I was fortunate enough to have certain characters around that were at the next level and able to come help me,” recounted Sindani. “I’m in a position now where I can now give back to the game in the same way those guys did for me. It translated well for me and I think I can now help a lot of other kids. That’s why I find it really important.”

In 2018, the Pincher Creek Mustang Football Society rounded up a group of approximately 100 fans across their youth teams to bring to the Red and White’s Western Final at McMahon Stadium.

They did so again for the team’s playoff game in 2019, a representation of the impact made by the CFL squad in that region of the province.

Knowing that the support between the Stampeders and their friends in Pincher Creek goes both ways is something Sindani cherishes, especially coming off his first-hand experience.

“That’s a huge trade-off I think,” asserted the receiver who was drafted by Calgary back in 2017 out of the U of C Dinos program. “These kids love Stampeders football, but they’re far away so it’s nice when I hear that they travel to come see us, too. The support goes both ways and it makes it that much more exciting to go there and build a relationship and give back to them.”