Growing up as young black quarterbacks, it was Warren Moon who was No. 1 in the hearts of Darian Durant and Henry Burris.
Now, the legendary Moon brings his skills to Calgary alongside Burris, the star host, and fellow CFL pivot Durant during the Henry Burris All-Star Weekend.
A former QB with the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos and the NFL’s Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs, Moon will be Burris’ special guest for the kids’ football clinic Saturday at McMahon Stadium.
“I’m definitely looking forward to having Warren with us this year,” said Burris, the Calgary Stampeders QB showing his trademark grin to match a spectacular kickoff to the fifth annual event Friday at Springbank Links Golf Club.
“I followed Warren through his journeys and watched him reach his goals as both a quarterback — not just a black quarterback — and as a person,” Burris continued.
“Warren overcame all the obstacles. He showed he had the skill — both up here and in the NFL. He proved there were no boundaries.”
Durant, who came within one play of leading the Saskatchewan Roughriders to last year’s Grey Cup, also idolized Moon while growing up in South Carolina.
“Definitely, here’s a guy that was doubted (in the U.S.) and came up here and found a home,” Durant said.
“He found a career up here in a great league.
“As a black quarterback growing up, it was players like Warren Moon and Doug Williams showing that they can play the position,” Durant continued. “They paved the way for players like us.”
Durant joined a handful of former CFLers, such as Don Narcisse and Henry (Gizmo) Williams, in attendance for Friday’s golf scramble at Springbank Links, a charity kickoff to a weekend co-sponsored by the Calgary Sun.
Scores of past and present Stampeders, including J.T. Hay, Rob Cote, Herm Harrison, Sugarfoot Anderson, Ken-Yon Rambo and John Hufnagel, were on hand, as well.
And Olympians, including curler John Morris, bobsledder Jesse Lumsden and speedskater Jeremy Wotherspoon, also picked up the clubs for the event to help out Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Calgary and Area.
Next up is Saturday’s football camp for 350-plus kids — with spots still available for respective two-hour camps beginning at 9 a.m. (atom and peewee) and noon (bantam, midget and high school) — followed by a black-tie gala and auction at the Westin Hotel.
Burris hopes to teach the young footballers poise, skill and “how to be good people.”
“We want to be able to allow the kids to leave the camp with confidence,” Burris said.
The Stampeders QB hopes the golf tournament and Saturday night’s auction put at least $150,000 in the Big Brothers Big Sisters coffers.