Football Camp

Football Camp

Football season is almost underway again and I have a new favorite team. I am now a die hard Chiefs fan. No not those Chiefs, I’m talking about my sons new football team the [RYA][1] Junior Chiefs. He has played for the bantam Panthers team for the last three years with plenty of ups and downs. Along the way Drew has experienced blood, sweat and tears. He went from mostly watching along the sidelines his first year to being Mr. Star Running back last year.

This year Drew is moving to the next level and playing in the Junior league. He again will play for Jason Genn, his Panther coach, who is taking on the head coaching duties for the Chiefs. Several of his past teammates will be joining him including Cole, Damon, Dylan, E.J., Ethan and Mason. The Chiefs look like they may be a contender for a championship, although i may be biased.
Every year at the beginning of the season the good folks with the RYA hold a football camp that lasts a week. They assemble the kids into three different groups based on their age. Ages five through seven play in the bantam league, eight and nine are juniors and ages ten and eleven play in the senior league. Once with their appropriate league, they are broken up into three more groups; lineman, defensive backs and receivers, and finally linebackers and running backs.  This year the camp was ran by the Richland High School coaches along with some of their players. They had several different drills all designed to evaluate different type of skills that the players will need to be successful. The goal of the camp is two-fold, first and foremost get the kids back in shape as well as back in that football frame of mind. Second, it gives the coaches a way to scout new recruits. Each coach gets five option letters. With an option letter a coach can get a player’s parents to commit their child to play for a their team. There is also a draft, so once a coach runs out of options to give out, he can watch to get a good idea of who to draft.

It’s quite an amusing sight watching coaches walk around with clip boards writing down little notes after a quick sprint or a well caught ball. What gets them scribbling the most though is a kids size. If a junior football player weighs more than on hundred pounds they are treated like celebrities. The other side of the coin are the player’s parents. Half of them strut around the camp like Jerry Maguire acting as a combination parent/agent/coach. A kid’s value is measured as much in potential parent difficulties as it is in potential touchdowns or sacks. For coaches the best player in the league isn’t worth it if their parents are hard to get along with.
Lucky for us, I didn’t have to whisper in every coaches ear about what a great talent my son was. I also didn’t have to endure too many questions about his age, height or weight. The administrators of the camp devised a method of using wristbands and visible numbers on the backs of the players to demonstrate their eligibility for the draft. Each boy had to sign up every day and announce whether he was a returner and his age.  A blue wristband indicated that he was an older kid and a red one a younger. Since we signed an option letter to have Drew play for the Chiefs before the camp started we were spared the politics and pandering for the most part.
All in all we all had a good time at the camp. Drew participated in drills and got to hang out with a bunch of  friends on his football team and otherwise. Ethan got to run around like a little mad man while collecting admiration and laughs from all around him. Linda and I had a good time watching our son prove once again what a great athlete he can be. I have to admit though that chasing the other makes me wonder what happened to my youth. I’m looking forward to the football season, Go Chiefs!!!