I am writing today in regards to youth football in our town of Prospect. Prospect youth football has been around for many years. I believe 19 with Pop Warner. In the last few years it seems interest has dwindled some in our town as well as in Beacon Falls the only other town we draw players from. Some has a lot to do with all the negative talk about concussions. Don’t get me wrong I know concussions are a concern. Another thing is that kids today are getting bigger faster than before. Pop Warner has weight restrictions, which is difficult with today’s growing youths.
With that said I want to include this quote from an ad that the Naugatuck Pop Warner league posted in the May 10 edition of the Citizens News and I quote: “Pop Warner is an age/weight based program. Football players are matched up based on a combination of their age and weight creating a much safer environment for them to learn the game of football and have less chance for injuries and more fun while learning the game. Pop Warner teaches the proper way to play ‘Heads up Football.’”
What ends up happening is that an 8 year old may have to play up to where the kids are 11 years old if he doesn’t meet the weight restrictions Pop Warner requires. Now first the maturity level is not the same. The older boys could end up hurting the younger player. This is Pop Warner’s solution to allow the younger player to be able to play.
They say that they teach the proper way to play, that in itself is a ridiculous statement, proof is mostly all our kids end up playing high school football at Woodland High who in the first few years of being in the NVL won two state championships with the coaches that teach our kids how to play the game of football, “Obviously the correct way.”
The Board of Directors of Prospect/Beacon Falls Jr. Hawks Football League has been hashing this around for the past couple of seasons. Well I’m happy to say we solved the problem by never again having to tell a young boy that, “sorry son but you can’t play because you weigh too much.”
I hated to have to say that to a young child. I am always trying to recruit kids to play and when I talk to a bigger boy and ask if he wants to play football this year, he looks at me with a sad face and says, “I can’t I weigh too much.” Then when I tell him we solved that problem you can play now, they’re face lights up and he smiles and says “really” and I say “yep.” That is worth a million bucks to me when I see that happy young boy.
So by now you probably figured out what we did to solve it. That’s right we dropped out of Pop Warner this year. I’m not trying to down grade Pop Warner it is a great league, just not for the 21st century. We have joined the American Youth Football League. In this league the players are mostly all classmates, each team is grade level. So no matter the weight the maturity level is the same. We will be encouraging players from different towns to play along with us as this is a way for all the kids to make new friends in the surrounding towns and will help our teams be more competitive. This year will be a new experience for all of us as we start a new chapter in Prospect Youth Football. Wish us and the kids luck. I should also mention that we will still have a cheer division as well and plenty of competition to go with it. We have some excellent cheer coaches who have always down well in competition.
I am also happy to report that even though Pop Warner sent letters to our kids trying to persuade them to go to a different town to play with Pop Warner it did not work. Our kids are true “Hawks” and plan on playing with their team mates and class mates. One, two, three: Lets go Hawks.