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Paving the lane

Justin Marville

Paving the lane

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?The man who has made a living making lanes for running backs is also ready to pave the way for Barbados’ future athletes.
Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Ramon Harewood is back home and is champing at the bit to officially introduce American football to Barbados so that young people can get the same opportunities he received.
The 26-year-old guard confirmed that he and six of his Super Bowl-winning teammates would be hosting a four-day camp for kids in April.
“Originally I just wanted to bring like a different mindset to athletics in Barbados [because] I feel we have too many athletes in Barbados who just don’t get a chance or just don’t know any better,” said Harewood in a wide-ranging interview with SUNSPORT.
“I want people to realize there are way more opportunities out there and not just education. Education is obviously important, but in the grand scheme of life most people should want to excel and be able to provide for their family and have security that their grandkids are going to be okay.
“But I feel there’s just too much talent here. There are so many athletes in Barbados that could go overseas and play any sport they want to, whether it be track, football or basketball,” he added.
News of Harewood’s plan first broke in the international media last month, when it was revealed that Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, cornerback Ladarius Webb, tackles Michael Oher and Bryant McKinnie, along with receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, would also be taking part in the camp.
It’s just the latest development in Harewood’s feel-good story, which saw the Deighton Road resident rise from relative obscurity to become an opening-day starter for an eventual Super Bowl champion team.
And this was after the 334-pound CARIFTA star was recruited to play for Morehouse College despite never having played a single snap of American football. However, as unlikely as his opportunity has been, Harewood claimed it was anything but easy.
“I played three sports for my country but never have I trained like I have until I got over there, so I’m trying to get people to understand that nothing just falls into your lap,” he explained.
“I did it, though, so why can’t somebody else do it? – I’m not superhuman; it’s just a little bit of hard work and dedication.
“The level of training here is just not on par for obvious reasons because most people work nine to five and then go and train, but in the States you have academies where you go from age 13, 14 and you’re training every day so by the time you get to 18 you’re already a pro because you know all you need to know.”
“Here, for instance, I played rugby and I was pretty good, but I didn’t know how to get myself in shape because that wasn’t a big part of the regimen down here, and a lot of people don’t understand that. So my view for the camp is just to bring a different type of training dynamic,” he added.
Barbados Tourism Authority vice-president of marketing in the United States, Campbell Rudder, had earlier confirmed that his organization was negotiating with Harewood and the deal was expected to be finalized by weekend.?