Dec 18, 2009, 2:00 PM EST
Crenshaw of Los Angeles is taking on De La Salle of Concord on Saturday for the California Open Division state championship, which would be no real surprise if we were talking basketball. But football? What? The South LA school had no history of gridiron success at all, until a certain Calvin Broadus showed up to try and turn things around.
That would be Snoop Dogg to you and me. Remember the inner city youth football league that Snoop founded five years ago? It’s still going strong, and the first graduates are beginning to make an impact at Crenshaw and surrounding high schools. The Cougars are 14-0, having won their past five games by a total score of 212-26.
“We have a special bond,” says Crenshaw junior running back De Anthony Thomas, one of the fastest players in California, who is being recruited by schools from USC to Miami. Mr. Thomas has the rap star’s personal phone number and considers him “like a dad.”
Mr. Dogg has had his troubles, to be sure; “role model” is not the first term that comes to mind when you view his rap sheet. A former member of the Crips gang, he’s been arrested for marijuana possession on numerous occasions; was detained and later released after his bodyguard was accused of murder; and has faced firearm and drug possession charges in more than one country. After word got out that San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom was to have a ceremony to give Snoop a proclamation, Newsom had to cancel it due to protests. the LA Dodgers also took similar heat after hiring Mr. Dogg as a ticket sales spokesman.
But his work with underprivileged schoolchildren in LA’s inner city has been a rousing success, and as they say, you can’t take that away from him. He calls it the Snoop Youth Football League, and he funds it all himself, and still runs it. And it’s not just a recreational diversion, as the success of Crenshaw’s football team will prove. From an excellent piece in The Wall Street Journal:
The Snoop Youth Football League, which boasts a dozen teams, including four in underserved South Los Angeles neighborhoods, has produced the bulk of Crenshaw’s talent, including senior wide receiver Geno Hall, who has 677 receiving yards this season, and quarterback Marquis Thompson, who is being recruited by Miami, Oregon and Utah and has thrown for 19 touchdowns this year. Last week’s win against archrival Dorsey High School has taken this school from the basement to the highest echelon in a state with a treasure trove of talent in just about all sports. “I’m having anxiety attacks,” said Ruby Thompson, bundled up in Crenshaw’s crowded stands last Friday night as she watched her grandson.
Crenshaw plays De La Salle in Carson, Calif. on Saturday, the first time a Los Angeles City Section school has played in a state bowl game since they began the format four years ago. It’s also one of the few times Crenshaw has been mentioned in newspaper news sections when it didn’t have something to do with gang violence, or the depiction of such in movies.
You can thank head coach Robert Garrett for that, but part of the credit has to go to Snoop Dogg. Having a vibrant Pop Warner youth program, as any high school coach will tell you, is essential for success. In addition to that, Snoop is literally saving lives. So there’s your uplifting story for a Friday; just the tonic needed this week, I would say. Can I get a fo shizzle?
A football revival in South LA [The Wall Street Journal]
Snoop Youth Football League [Official Site]
Crenshaw High finds success on football field [Contra Costa Times]
- So long folks, it’s time for me to take off 18
- Man wins full marathon while pushing his daughter in a baby stroller (video) 14
- Lock and load, it’s youth baseball fundraising time: league raffling off AR-15 rifle (video) 8
- Sim Bhullar is a large basketball player, and I mean it. Anybody want a peanut? 0
- What’s with kids and all these death-defying stunts? 674
- Nothing to see here…just a 70-yard field goal by a high-schooler (video) 3
- None found