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The boys of fall kick off
By COLLEEN SMIDT
The arrival of cooler temperatures and colorful leaves means back to school and football for many of those students. I am again a Pee Wee football mom this year and I am pretty excited about it.
I have three years under my belt, but took last year off to avoid the burn out of doing too many sports in a row and our son concentrated on wrestling only. I say we, because youth sports are a collective family decision. Nick may play, but Jason and I are involved in supporting both the team and the organization during that particular sport’s season. No matter what that sport or activity is. We are either all in or all out.
Participation by parents and community is the life blood behind local, volunteer, non-profit youth sports organizations. Sure they are always going to need enough kids to play but it is the endless hours of volunteer dedication on the field and behind the scenes that keep everything going and everyone playing.
This football season, the Kitsap County Pee Wee Association will play on with one less member. In June the East Bremerton Pee Wees folded after 40 years of operations. Players from that organization will now register with either North Perry or Tracyton. The other remaining Kitsap County teams include North Kitsap, Silverdale, Chico, South Kitsap, North Mason and, of course, the group I am closest to, Warren Avenue.
Another change for this year was the way in which the age groups are divided. A LEVEL – Ages 12 & 13, B Level – Ages 11 & 10, C LEVEL – Ages 9 & 8, D LEVEL – Ages 7 & 6, FLAG – Age 6 and Age 5 optional. Not every Kitsap organization will be fielding a Flag team this year. Warren Avenue simply did not have enough kids register to meet the minimum.
Conditioning started for most teams on Aug. 6th and until school starts practice is typically two hours, five days a week. Once school starts most teams cut back to three days a week and one game every Saturday.
Any quality youth sports organization emphasizes academics over athletics and if the grades slip, kids don’t play or participate, period. Coaches and parents make that decision together.
I must admit that until I became involved in Pee Wee sports, football meant nothing to me. I did not understand the rules or the game. Growing up it was the most boring three to four hours every weekend when my dad commandeered the single TV in the house to watch the game on one of the four channels available at the time. I quickly found something else to do.
I finally got it after having the game explained to me at the same basic level that it was explained to first graders preparing to play. Now I love it.
Catch a Saturday Pee Wee football game this season if you can. It’s basic football on a local field with no commercial breaks or halftime shows. Just the kids of our community, having fun and playing hard.