COLUMN: Grandson's flag football games bring back memories

Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

   Like many families that have kids, part of their youth more often than not, centers around their activities. I have a sports-oriented grandson who just turned seven and he loves sports right now. I hope that continues for many years to come.

   Sullivan came into this world kicking and screaming. He is as active as any young kid that I have been around and it started from the day he was born. From the moment he took his first steps, he hasn’t stopped. He comes flying right out of the gate every morning.

   His sports-obsessed grandpa is delighted in his enthusiasm, his drive and also thinks there is some talent there. Sullivan is fortunate to live in a community that is also very sports-oriented. There are well-run and organized programs available for participation for Sullivan to choose from.

   Their youth programs must be successful and contribute to the future as their high school programs are successful as well.

   A few things about Sullivan that I am impressed with: his arm, his speed and his athleticism. He can throw a baseball pretty far and is very accurate for a 7-year-old. He can also catch and throw a football pretty well too. And he is a fast kid who never runs out of energy.

   We’ve gotten to see him play flag football twice this fall. He is playing in a 1st/2nd grade league so there are some bigger kids with some experience under their belts. All the kids get a chance to run the ball and multiple kids also get to play quarterback.

   That’s a big difference from how we coached our kids. We picked kids based on how we perceived their abilities and many never got a chance to play the fun positions. If I had a time machine I’d go back and change that, I really would.

   Sullivan has scored a few touchdowns and he has gotten to pass the ball a few times too. Watching him play brought back some fun memories of flag football involving both of my boys.

   The care-free time spent playing youth sports is such a small window in their lives. Before you know it, they are competing for playing time and spots at the high school level.

   Flag football for my sons was such a fun time. I had a great co-coach and we had fun making up plays and competing against their friends. The city had a nice program. Neither of my boys played varsity football; instead they chose to run in a very successful Monticello cross-country program. We didn’t have a youth tackle football program until after they had gotten to middle school, where their football careers came to an end. (Dillon did play football as a 9th grader.)

   I don’t know what the future will be for Sullivan and sports. It will be fun following him through his young career. Maybe he will be a cross-country runner at the high school level. The time spent racing his cousin Claire out in the back yard could be a sign of the future!




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