Visiting Warren County’s youth league football practice Thursday at Bobby Ray Elementary brought back some memories. I remember doing the same thing some 17 years ago, and things haven’t changed much. There’s still the concrete bleachers where I can remember sitting as a sports writer and as a parent with a young son playing. The young son is now 27, but the memories stayed the same.
Speaking with the coaches who are often the unsung heroes who donate their time and often money to help children learn the basics of football, I realized how important the program is to our future and how often it’s not even on the radar.
I find out many new things writing stories for the sports section, from how to properly hydrate to the origins of many of the sports I write about. It’s a necessity not only to write stories about current sports but topics related to sports as there are always times when it rains, or school’s out for the year and school sports are on break.
For example, last week I found out where youth league football originated and it was close to home. Seems Pop Warner football got its start in Philadelphia. Since I graduated from high school there I might have known that but didn’t.
Like memories, existing totally in your mind, one can envision a football program where the youth league plays an integral part in our overall football program and not a side bar to a main feature. I hear the term feeder program bantered around quite a bit, but I never make the connection from youth league to high school football.
There may be things going on I don’t know about. There are surely unselfish people who spend their time teaching the fundamentals of football like coach Bert Sinks I met last week and all the others I noticed on the field with him teaching the kids football like they were their very own. It takes a lot of commitment to put in the time and effort involved. You really have to care about the kids participating.
It seems as if we start at that age, we would develop a program at some point which had a degree of continuum. But that’s not always how it goes. We’re so bogged down in a busy life these days, it’s tough just to get through the day, let alone coordinate football across a 10-year timeline. I think that’s what I would make a priority if we’re going to improve our overall football acumen.
Baseball already has a foothold on this type of arrangement when you consider the many traveling teams each year. Then, at the end of the summer, along comes football like the red-headed stepchild. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but it seems like youth league football can answer some of the questions.
The situation reminds me of the exercise to show the breakdown in communication that comes with one person whispering to another a sentence down a line and the result is nowhere near the original.
They say the devil is in the details.