By Shellie Miller
So often, I’m asked about the best sports to get kids participating in from a very young age. Being so involved with athletics, I’ve had a lot of years experience, and five grown children to give an informed opinion. Eligibility for flag football sign-up begins with kindergarten, and I highly recommend this fun, athletic activity to every family! The interconnectivity, team spirit, and family friendships that are born from these encounters on the field are priceless!
Parkland Flag Football league president Matt Kaufman is passionate about the program that both his son and daughter have participated in and love.
When I talk to Matt about girls participation, he says, “Girls flag football is now a scholarship sport, and how many girls are out there playing soccer, lacrosse, golf… etc? It’s become such a phenomenon for girls to become empowered by playing!” Impassioned by our line of discussion, he goes on. “On top of it, it’s social! They make friends, they compete, they learn how to accept direction, winning or losing. For the girls, it’s not just about the sport, it’s the community piece that’s so important to them. To me, it’s the ideal way for them to come out of their shells… To be confident! And they are having fun!“
The growth of the program for both genders has changed rapidly, and Matt attributes much of it to the guerrilla marketing of the families who appreciate it and look forward to seeing its expansion. A decade ago, the league had about 500 participating… Today, there are 920 children in the program filling out 95 teams, with an expansion of both boys and girls high school teams, as well as facilitating communication through all facets of social media. Matt tells us, “Because of that, we’ve made it possible for every boy or girl of every age to be able to play!” All participants are encouraged to be part of the program, which is open to children from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Parent coaches are one of the keys to this fabulous league. Coach Jonathan Broch shares, “Parkland Flag is one of the best sports programs we have, but it’s so much more than just football. It’s amazing to see our boys and girls develop the life skills of leadership, teamwork, listening and perseverance that they will carry with them into all facets of their life.”
The next opportunity for fun and excitement is NOW! Families are encouraged to sign up for Parkland Flag Football’s winter league, that has games Friday nights for all age groups for about eight weeks starting in January. The difference is that this particular league is made up of teams put together by parents and friends, contrasting the usual way of people signing up and then being drafted onto different teams. The winter league is different and participants are encouraged to get involved ASAP!
For more info. see www.parklandflag.com