'Boys of Fall' honor one of their own

— Kenny Kline, who was killed in a mo­tor­cycle ac­ci­dent in March 2011, is re­membered at a free foot­ball clin­ic.

06:03:2012,Phil­adelphia; Kenny Kline Foot­ball clin­ic for play­ers 8 to 16 years of age.


By all ac­counts, Kenny Kline was a smart, kind and con­sid­er­ate 18-year-old with his whole life ahead of him.

The former foot­ball play­er at North­east High School was heav­ily in­volved in his Rhawn­hurst com­munity and had plans of be­com­ing a po­lice of­ficer. However, tragedy struck in March 2011 when Kline was killed in a mo­tor­cycle ac­ci­dent in Castor Gar­dens.

The ac­ci­dent broke the hearts of all those who knew Kline, who loved foot­ball and coun­try mu­sic so much that he had a tat­too that read “The Boys of Fall” in hon­or of his fa­vor­ite sport and hit song of his fa­vor­ite mu­si­cian, coun­try star Kenny Ches­ney.

Last Sunday was a re­mind­er to an en­tire com­munity how much Kline touched so many in his short time here, as the 2nd an­nu­al Kenny Kline Boys of Fall Foot­ball Clin­ic was held at the Pel­bano Re­cre­ation Cen­ter in Rhawn­hurst. Over 250 kids aged eight to 16 were on hand for the free camp, which in­cluded in­struc­tion from coaches and play­ers from North­east, as well as oth­er area schools Fath­er Judge, Arch­bish­op Ry­an and George Wash­ing­ton. Arch­bish­op Wood, St. Joseph’s Prep, La Salle, Ro­man Cath­ol­ic, West Cath­ol­ic, Coun­cil Rock South and Ne­sham­iny also sent rep­res­ent­at­ives to par­ti­cip­ate, as did col­leges such as Temple, Ohio State, Penn State, Delaware, Kutztown, Stony Brook, Delaware Val­ley, Ship­pens­burg and Col­gate.

With over 100 vo­lun­teers and 60-plus high school and col­lege play­ers and coaches in­volved from mul­tiple states, the Boys of Fall Clin­ic was fur­ther proof at how big of an in­flu­ence Kline had on so many. Not every­body in at­tend­ance knew him per­son­ally, but that didn’t stop them from com­ing out to sup­port a good cause.

“I didn’t know Kenny my­self, but I can speak to how spe­cial the bond is between foot­ball coach and play­er,” said Arch­bish­op Ry­an foot­ball coach Frank McArdle, who lent his ser­vices for the day. “Every­body that came, es­pe­cially those that didn’t know Kenny, re­spect that close bond; I know at Ry­an we would hate to tra­gic­ally lose one of our own, and I think it’s won­der­ful that this young man had such a ma­jor in­flu­ence to at­tract so many people to hon­or his memory.”

One of the main ar­chi­tects of the event was Ed Trampe, a foot­ball coach at Rhawn­hurst Ath­let­ic As­so­ci­ation who knew Kline per­son­ally. The clin­ic, which was sponsored by the Cham­pi­ons Found­a­tion in part­ner­ship with the Kenny Kline Found­a­tion and Rhawn­hurst A.A., was such a suc­cess that there’s already talk of turn­ing it in­to a two-day event as early as next sum­mer.

“Kenny was an amaz­ing kid that did everything right and lived his life the way every­body should,” Trampe said. “Nobody ever had any­thing bad to say about him, and he was just one of those guys that every­body loved to be around. It really was a great day, and we hope that it will con­tin­ue to hon­or Kenny’s spir­it and leg­acy.”

The clin­ic was com­pletely free to all par­ti­cipants, something that Trampe and the Kline Fam­ily were in­sist­ent upon. Donors and vari­ous spon­sors, in­clud­ing Mod­ell’s Sport­ing Goods, con­trib­uted to the event.

“I spoke ex­tens­ively with his fam­ily, and we all agreed that be­cause of the as­so­ci­ation with kids that no money should be chan­ging hands,” Trampe said. “Kenny loved foot­ball so much, and we didn’t want the day to be about money, es­pe­cially in this eco­nomy. We wanted it to be a fun day where kids could get foot­ball in­struc­tion from a lot of dif­fer­ent people, and that’s ex­actly what happened.”

And al­though the clin­ic par­ti­cipants got a ton of spe­cial­ized teach­ing from a pleth­ora of high school and col­lege play­ers and coaches, the day wasn’t just about foot­ball. It was about keep­ing Kline’s leg­acy alive, as the best way to hon­or the fallen is to re­mem­ber them through the things they loved so much.

“I didn’t know Kenny my­self, but I’ve been coach­ing high school foot­ball for ten years and I know how close I still am with some of those guys,” said Fath­er Judge as­sist­ant coach Fran Cos­tello. “From everything Ed­die (Trampe) told me about Kenny, he loved to help kids and he was do­ing everything the right way on and off the field, and that’s the les­son we try to teach at Judge.

“An event like this, it’s about so much more than just im­prov­ing your foot­ball skills,” he con­tin­ued. “It’s about teach­ing these kids how to act the right way and give back whenev­er they can. As coaches, it’s our re­spons­ib­il­ity when we have these kids un­der our care to teach them life-long les­sons, from kids in fifth grade all the way up to high school.”

Trampe told a story about Rush­awn Grange, a fresh­man on the North­east foot­ball team that lives past Frank­ford High School. On the day of Kline’s view­ing, Grange had to take three buses to get to the fu­ner­al ser­vice that took over two hours. After Grange got off the third bus, he walked sev­er­al blocks in the pour­ing rain in or­der to be there to hon­or Kline.

“Kenny was one of our own,” Trampe said. “He spread so much cheer and pos­it­ive feel­ings to every­one around him, and every­one he en­countered was touched by this spe­cial young man. One tra­gic ac­ci­dent took him from us, and now it’s about how we re­mem­ber him.” ••


You can reach at emorrone@bsmphilly.com.

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