This just in, sports fans: One of the newest entries into the burgeoning sports media scene is the product of an 8-year-old Fair Haven boy.
NFL Freak, which debuted earlier this month, is the brainchild of Kees (rhymes with 'case') Van Hemmen, a Sickles School third-grader whose passion for the pro game has all but overtaken his life.
When he's not watching NFL news on cable or the web, he's usually playing a football video game or boning up on gridiron history through books.
Calculating how much time he can devote each day to football once he starts playing Pop Warner next season, Kees comes up with a figure close to 20 hours, neglecting to factor in time for sleep.
"I'm obsessed with it," he tells redbankgreen.
It's a relatively new mania, born only about 18 months ago. Until then, Kees says he had little awareness of the game. But his father would sometimes mention that one team or another had won, or was undefeated, which caught his attention.
Then a friend's familiarity with the game triggered an interest that for Kees quickly turned into an all-consuming appetite for football news and history.
"He's constantly talking about it: 'Do you know this? Do you know that? Who got traded, etcetera,' " says his father, Pim Van Hemmen, a freelance photographer. "I said, 'Why don't you do a blog?'"
And so, using Blogger freeware, Kees started one, with his father's help.
It's a site where the football fanatic takes a bit of new and injects his own opinion in posts that rarely go on for more than a half-dozen sentences. The blog's motto: 'Where an 8 year old tells you where its at in the NFL.'
This being the off-season, Kees' postings are mostly about trades and contract disputes, but he expects the focus to change as summer workouts turn into the preseason, regular season and playoffs. He's already keyed up for the Patriots v. Bucs game in London in week seven.
I think their line is fine if they start Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan
Koppen, Snephen Neal, And Nick Kaczur. All Tom needs 10 is seconds
maximum to get the ball down field.
He'd adept at Google and can find his way into the the depths of data on players who were already long retired or dead before he was born. redbankgreen asked Kees if he knew who Dan Marino is.
"If he had played one more year, he would have played when I was just born," he says, without hesitation.
His parents his mother is Jeanne-Marie Van Hemmen, an attorney in Red Bank give him guidance on spelling, grammar and punctuation. But his father says Kees' writing for the blog is his own, and much more self-assured than his school compositions, no doubt reflecting his ardor for the game.
"The NFL has really become very educational for him," Pim says.
Now, Kees gets up early and occasionally has his daily post online before dawn.
"Some mornings I wake up, and he's already watching NFL Network," says his dad. "I've got to tell him, 'you have to eat breakfast, brush your teeth and go to school.' "