Friday, August 02, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Former Hog great speaks at PAKT’s Fun Day Bash

Leader sports editor

Former Arkansas Razorback and NFL running back Madre Hill addressed members of the Jacksonville Boys and Girls Club on Friday, highlighting a day of fun and games to close the PAKT program’s Fund Day Bash at the club.

Police and Kids Together is a program designed to form positive relationships between police and the community’s children by keeping kids involved in positive activities. Twice a week three police officers visit the club, and each year there is the summer day of fun.

“It’s just our way of giving the kids a final big day before summer ends and school starts,” said Sgt. Richard Betterton, who heads up the program for the Jacksonville Police Department.

Hill is one of Arkansas’ most prolific high-school running backs, at one time holding the state record for career and single-season rushing yards, and career touchdowns. He went on to also break the Arkansas Razorbacks’ single-season rushing record, which he held for 13 years before it was broken by Darren McFadden in 2008..

After tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in both knees and missing two full years of competition, he finished his career as a Razorback in 1999 and went on to a three-year NFL career with the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders, where he was on the AFC championship team.

Hill told The Leader that he’s eager to be a part of this kind of program because of his experiences as a member of the Malvern Boys and Girls Club growing up.

“I was blessed with people that gave their time and energy to things like this, so I want to do my part to help when I can as well.”

Hill is now founder and owner of Razor Clean Maids, a janitorial business that services the Jacksonville area. He had a message of self-reliance for Boys and Girls Club members.

“You can be your biggest asset or you can be your own worst enemy,” said Hill. “If you don’t succeed, it’s not your environment. It’s not a person who told you that you couldn’t do it. It’s not your financial situation. It’s you. Only you can hinder your progress by making the wrong decisions. Only you can sabotage yourself.”

Hill warned the mostly elementary and middle-school aged crowd to avoid temptations like partying, getting involved in intimate relationships and skipping school, and urged them to be set their priorities early.

He drew an analogy between life and football, saying each has four quarters. But he warned that the analogy was not exact. The timeline isn’t the same in each.

“You guys are right now in the first quarter of your lives,” Hill said. “By the time you get ready to graduate, it’ll be halftime. You’re building the road map for the rest of your life right now. You don’t think that’s true because you’re so young, but that’s how fast it happens. And you can either go into halftime winning or losing. And unlike in football, in life, there is no overtime.”

Hill also touched on what makes a person successful, and posited a different definition than the one most are likely to assume.

“It’s not about money,” Hill said. “I’ve seen many grown men who went into halftime winning, then got some money and started losing. So instead of judging your success on money, judge it on happiness. Judge it on the joy of life and doing for others. You’ve got a whole lot of successful people lined up here to my right, because they give their time to help people like you. You will find happiness in that.”

Hill stayed for more than an hour after the speech to give away photos from his playing days and sign them for any who wanted.

The Jacksonville Police Department also set up a dunking booth with different officers and club workers taking turns in the booth. There was also kickball and many other activities and the police department grilled burgers and hot dogs for lunch.