Alums share love of sports with next generation of athletes at sports camp

August 17, 2010

By Christopher Huber

Matthew Frerker throws the ball to a teammate closer to the goal in an attempt to score a point. By Tara Sackman

University of Portland standout runner Matthew Frerker could spend his summers hanging out with friends in the Portland area, saving a bunch of money for school or traveling. Instead, he returns to Sammamish to play sports with local youths.

The former Skyline High School cross country standout runs for the nationally competitive Division I Pilots. For the past four years, he has worked and coached a summer sports camp with David Clymer, his former coach and a Beaver Lake Middle School math teacher.Team Sports Camp is a two-hour day camp that meets twice a week to play various sports at Beaver Lake Middle School. It focuses on fast-paced sports for all abilities and has grown from as few as 22 youths three years ago to 48 attendees in 2010, Clymer said.

“Really, the main goal is to build confidence in all the athletes and to give them a good time in competitive sports,” he said.

Clymer and Frerker share a common bond in their affinity for running and coaching cross country, as well as promoting a positive, not-too-overbearing approach to competitive sports.

“The best part about it is there’s really no pressure,” said Frerker, who has run with Clymer since he was a sixth-grader at Beaver Lake. “It’s a great way for kids to come out and just have fun with sports. It’s competitive, but it’s not to the point where it ruins it. No one remembers who won the next day.”

Frerker said he initially came to be a role model at the camp.

“Originally, it was just to kind of watch over the kids and kind of be a friend to the kids,” he said.

He eventually moved into more of a co-coaching role. Frerker also coaches for the Issaquah Gliders running club.

Now, the two coaches bring in teen coaches who have gone through BLMS and the camp.

“The teen coaches are always great role models for the younger participants and it’s fun to have them contribute their athletic talent to the sports we play,” Clymer said.

The idea to make it a summer camp came five years ago, when Clymer’s after-school sports club offering saw a great increase in popularity, he said.

The camp is based around a low-key atmosphere of basic sports instruction and play. The 48 attendees split into two groups. One plays dodgeball in the Beaver Lake gym, while the other plays soccer, flag football, capture the flag or another field sport. Before the groups trade spots, they have a water-balloon fight with up to 400 balloons, Clymer said.

“They love dodgeball,” he said.

Frerker noted that Clymer sheds his math-teacher role and simply provides a safe and casual place to hang out and play sports.

“It really couldn’t happen without him at all,” Frerker said. “He’s just their friend when it comes to Team Sports Camp.”

As for what Frerker gets out of coming back from college each summer to help run the camp, he said it’s about staying active and working with youths. He also likes to get people involved with their school cross-country teams.

“It’s a great way for me to stay outside and involved with younger kids. So many kids have joined cross country through Team Sports Club,” Frerker said. “I think it’s fun because they have so much energy, but they’re so sincere in the way they act. We go to Team Sports Camp and we just play sports.”

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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