These kids are all eligible receivers!
Some 190 boys aged 4 through 12 the packed Regina Pacis Hall for the Parkville Youth Organization football program end-of-season party.
The 50-year-old kids’ sports organization handed out special awards for offensive and defensive linemen and backs, and for Most Valuable Player — but no kid went home without a trophy. Older Parkvillers said it was important to recognize that all the kids had worked hard and improved their skills
“Every child who participates in the program is learning. They’re all in the same level, they all go to practice,” said coach Bob Cavaliere.
Cavaliere said that each of the three age divisions — 4 to 7, 8 to 10, and 11 through 12 —go through two months of boot camp from August until October, learning basic blocking, running, and passing. The organizers then assign positions and divide the boys into evenly-matched teams, which play until mid-December.
“They’re like a diamond in the rough, all they have to do is start polishing to get better,” said Cavaliere.
The 20-year-veteran coach pointed out that most other kids’ gridiron leagues only play flag football. Parkville gets its boys in full padding and has them play tackle football, just like older divisions. Cavaliere said the game lets the kids develop both skills and strong relationships.
“They build up friendships, like soldiers in battle. They fight together, and they’re up against the enemy,” said Cavaliere. “I don’t know of any other experience to compare it to.”