MANDEVILLE, LA -- Treston Decoud drew a big crowd of kids for his football camp at Lakeshore High School in Mandeville. Decoud went to school there and now plays for the Houston Texans. Even better, the camp was free!
"Playing in the NFL is definitely a dream," Decoud said. "I just want to show the kids that it take a lot of hard work."
Decoud also brought in other NFL players to help with the camp. They're his buddies, and some of them are also from Southeast Louisiana.
For the kids, it's an incredible opportunity to get some coaching from professionals who 'play on Sundays', as the expression goes.
But not all of the coaches and players who were working with the kids play on Sundays. Some play on Saturdays.
"I still get butterflies before every game," 34-year-old Abraham Dawson told WGNO.
Dawson played high school football at Salmen in Slidell and college at Southeastern in Hammond. He knows all about being young and aspiring to play in the NFL.
"You marvel at the athleticism it takes to make it to the NFL. And everybody when they're younger, they want to make it to the NFL when you play football," he said.
For players who still aspire to play on Sundays or who simply love the game too much to retire to the recliner, there's a minor league football team on the North Shore called the Bayou Lacombe Cardinals.
Instead of playing on Sundays, the Cardinals play on Saturday night, and Lakeshore High School is their home field.
On this day, just as the kids enjoyed being around the NFL players at Decoud's camp, so did the members of the Cardinals.
"We told them that the pros are going to be out here, so it's a way to network," Cardinals Executive Director Gerrin Narcisse said. "So they are very excited to be out here as well."
If you're interested in seeing a Cardinals game, the team's season runs from March to June. When they're not playing on their home field in Mandeville, they're traveling to Pensacola, Panama City, Mobile and other cities that also have minor league teams.
On August 11, the Cardinals will participate in a cross-promotion event with the New Orleans Baby Cakes. Narcisse says the baseball team will help raise money at its game that night for the football team.
Also, the Cardinals are taking other steps to reach out to people and grow the team's fan base.
"Community outreach is a huge part of what we do. We've done seven camps this week, and we have two or three more that we do throughout the summer," Narcisse said.
For more information on the Cardinals, check out the team's Facebook page.