Dreams of the World: A boy inspired by A.J. Green from the Cincinnati Bengals

11-years old Mykal Porter (right) at the New Britain Jr. Hurricanes Heads Up Football practice in New Britain (Connecticut.), during a visit of Heads Up Football Advisory Committee Member Chris Golic and her husband Mike (Kike Calvo / AP Images for National Football League)

Dreams of the World: One Dream a Time. This post is the latest in the series Dreams of the World, which profiles interesting people Kike meets during his travels.

¨My dream is to be like American football wide receiver A.J. Green for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL),¨ explains Mykal Porter, a 11-years old student at Roosevelt Middle School. ¨I would also love to represent the USA Olympic team in Track and Field 100 and 200 m.¨Because of his track and field performance in a recent event, the coach of the New Britain Jr. Hurricanes approached him to play Football. ¨ I practice three to five days a week, and I play as a Wing Back offense and Mike Middle Backer on defense. ¨

¨The team is like a big happy family away from home,¨ describes Porter. ¨Its hard work and dedication, but they have great coaching staff.¨ Besides Football, he sees himself working for the Aviation Engineering field.

I asked Alex Torres, coach for the 6th grade team as well as the President of the league, to choose someone whom he felt should be included in my column. ¨I chose Mykal because he exemplifies what it is to be a student athlete.  He’s an honor roll student and his hard work and dedication at practice is unmatched.¨ explains coach Torres. ¨ He will definitely be in a four year school excelling in academics as well as Track or Football.  Skies the limit for this kid he can be whatever he chooses.”

As part of the team, kids learn how to be a young man with high character!,¨ describes Torres. ¨ The sport of football, and being part of this team teaches our young men life lessons including work ethic, determination, team work, respect, dedication and the importance of academics.These lessons are of the upmost importance for them to be successful in all aspects of life especially growing up in an inner city.¨

More than 25 percent of U.S. youth football leagues spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C., have registered for Heads Up Football in 2013. “Education is a light bulb in a dark room. Turn it on and you see where to go and what to avoid,” USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “Medical experts specializing in a wide range of areas – from neurology to sports cardiology – call our education-based Heads Up Football program the new standard for safer play.¨ Indianapolis-based USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL.

“The health and safety of every youth and high school football player is our No. 1 priority. With support of the medical community and football stakeholders on multiple levels, USA Football is committed to continue to change for the better how coaches are prepared, safety is addressed, players are taught and parents are informed.”

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Football gift ideas for children: 

Sports Accent Lamp Football

Wilson F1100 Official NFL Game Football

Football for Dummies

DecoPac NFL Stadium Deco Set

Flash Furniture BT-6181-FOOT-GG Football Task Chair

Football Player Cake Decorations Party Accessory

Sports Illustrated Kids 1st and 10: Top 10 Lists of Everything in Football

Suddora Football Wrist Coach Playbook Armband for Quarterback for Men, Women, and Children





Human Journey

Meet the Author
Award-winning photographer, journalist, and author Kike Calvo (pronounced key-keh) specializes in culture and environment. He has been on assignment in more than 90 countries, working on stories ranging from belugas in the Arctic to traditional Hmong costumes in Laos. Kike is pioneering in using small unmanned aerial systems to produce aerial photography as art, and as a tool for research and conservation. He is also known for his iconic photographic project, World of Dances, on the intersection of dance, nature, and architecture. His work has been published in National Geographic, New York Times, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair, among others. Kike teaches photography workshops and has been a guest lecturer at leading institutions like the School of Visual Arts and Yale University. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic blog Voices. He has authored nine books, including Drones for Conservation; So You Want to Create Maps Using Drones?; Staten Island: A Visual Journey to the Lighthouse at the End of the World; and Habitats, with forewords by David Doubilet and Jean-Michel Cousteau. Kike’s images have been exhibited around the world, and are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection. Kike was born in Spain and is based in New York. When he is not on assignment, he is making gazpacho following his grandmother’s Andalusian recipe. You can travel to Colombia with Kike: www.colombiaphotoexpeditions.com