Are You Ready For Some Football?

By: George V. Howe

The mighty Pembroke Falcons have kicked off their U-6 flag football season and the fans are going wild! Ok, that is a stretch but it is amusing watching a group of 5 year-old boys run around in oversized football shirts, shorts and socks, matched only by their enthusiasm to understand the basic rules of football. Somewhere Bill Belichick is not smiling.

Nolan’s exposure to football thus far has been watching his father yell and scream at a television for 3 hours on game day – not exactly an ideal learning environment. And even though he understood, at an early age, that Sunday was “Tom Brady Day” in our house, the best quarterback to ever play the game might as well have been just another Lego Super Hero or Transformer to Nolan. So when I asked him if he wanted to play flag-football this year he answered with an emphatic “YES!”

I’m not sure Nolan was actually paying attention while we were watching football games at home because there are two things that happen in flag football when the ball is snapped: the kids stand around and look at each other waiting for something to happen; then they stand around some more! But the kids love the game and get a kick out of it, with some of the funnier moments coming during the practice session as the coaches are trying to explain some of the fundamentals of the game: offense, defense, stripping the flag, etc. I particularly enjoyed the kid’s reaction to “the line of scrimmage” and how you can’t cross the line until the ball is snapped. Imagine a bunch of 5 year olds actually looking for an imaginary line of scrimmage. Priceless!

So prior to his first game I taught Nolan how to jump the snap from a defensive position in order to get into the backfield and disrupt the play. My mentoring was spot on! The ball was hiked…he jumped the snap…blew past the linemen…burst into the backfield…confronted the ballcarrier…then talked to him for a few awhile until they both realized they were supposed to run somewhere, anywhere really.

Sorry coach, it could be a long season….