Thursday, 16 August 2012 09:32

Swift Current Minor Football ready for the gridiron

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You just never know, the future Brendan LaBattes and Chris Getlafs of the world may be down at the Riverside Park gridiron.

Swift Current Minor Football season is here and from Aug. 16-17 the equipment will be handed out at 6:30 p.m. at Central School.
On Aug. 21 and Aug. 23 will be the first practices of the year. They both begin at 5 p.m. at Riverside Park. The Football Jamboree is slated for Aug. 25 starting at 9 a.m. and runs until around 4 p.m.
Darwin Gooding who is in charge of registration/ communications with the Swift Current Minor Football said the organization has about 160 registrants which is about on par with what they have done in recent years.
Gooding said the executive was happy with that.
Swift Current Minor Football has come a long way since the first organizational meeting back on Dec. 12, 2005.
Twenty people attended that meeting and 11 people volunteered to form an executive. Four other individuals also volunteered to form a financial committee. The objectives of the association were explained in a press release that was issued: “To promote amateur football in the City of Swift Current and surrounding area and the development of the fundamental skills of the sport of football; To build character and promote sportsmanship among all individuals associated with the sport of football.”
That theme is being followed, but it is challenging.
Gooding said they are always in need of more help off the field.
“There’s always a need for more coaches and officials,” said Gooding. “Every year, we find a way to get it done, but we need some more help.”
Gooding added the younger or more inexperienced officials referee the atom and peewees while the more experienced officials do bantam games.
Those who want to officiate get an opportunity to learn.
The league has received a lot of solid sponsorship from the business community including the likes of Shaw, MNP and Diamond Energy. He said many of those business owners/workers donate a lot of their valuable time because they are also the ones who come out and volunteer to coach amongst other duties.
Gooding said putting the costs into perspective, there is a $175 price tag to register while equipment is extremely expensive. Without the corporate support, there would be no league.
While it’s looking decent this year off the field, on the field it’s even more promising. Gooding said they are looking forward to the big opening weekend at the end of the month.
“With the Football Jamboree, we can get a feel of who we have out there, the kids can get back into it and it’s a bit of an evaluation process for the coaches to grade the kids a bit,” explained Gooding. “Aside from the benefits for organizers, it’s a good chance for everyone to get excited and it’s a kick-off to the season.”
Gooding said new this year will be the atom division playing six-man football. He said it came down to the fact parents wanted more scoring so by reducing the number of players from nine to six, there will be more room on the field. As well, this will allow team rosters to be smaller.
The bantams will also take to the field in an exhibition game with high school teams from southwest Saskatchewan including Gull Lake, Shaunavon and Maple Creek who will be using their rookies and younger players.
Gooding said it will be a good learning experience and added competition which will benefit everyone.
As far as the Saskatchewan born-players on the CFL’s Riders and just the enormous importance and prominence the team has within the Saskatchewan culture, Gooding said it’s great advertising for Swift Current’s minor football program.
“Anytime when you have a team with their kind of stature, it can’t be a bad thing,” said Gooding.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor

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