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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation September 23, 2017

8/8/2017 11:41:00 AM
Football camp beats the heat with fun
Sisters youth turned out for football camp to learn safe tackling  and to have fun just being a kid. photo by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Sisters youth turned out for football camp to learn safe tackling and to have fun just being a kid. photo by Jerry Baldock

The 2017 Sisters Outlaws football season will be upon us soon. But before the Outlaws take the field, the program took some time to invest in the future. From July 31 to August 3 the Little Outlaws took to the gridiron. Almost 30 kids showed up for some football, a lot of fun, and most importantly some safe tackling training.

"It was hot out, but these boys showed a lot of toughness this week," said first-year Head Coach Neil Fendall. "I was impressed with their energy and work ethic considering they could be home playing video games or in an air-conditioned movie theater somewhere."

Practice times were adjusted to accommodate the heat index, employing the same guidelines that would be used at the high school level.

Said one parent, "All my boy talked about was how fun the high school players were. That, and the slip-n-slide!"

The boys doused themselves with water during breaks and cooled down with a popsicle in hand. When asked about the water games and popsicles, Coach Fendall said, "We wanted to create a setting similar to growing up in a neighborhood where all the kids go out and play and then raid the garage freezer when they get tired. Kids start youth sports at a very young age so we want to try and alleviate some of the over-coaching and over-drilling that occurs and focus more on 'organized play' atmosphere."

Jett Mingus, a senior on the Sisters High School team, said, "If all camps were like this, more kids would come out and play!"

That was the goal as camp wrapped up and the message to kids and parents was loud and clear: Sports are supposed to be fun. Competition will evolve as kids get older and develop the emotional maturity to handle it.

"At these ages, all kids care about is if it's fun and which friends are there - and popsicles!" Fendall said.

High school coaches and players alike seemed to enjoy the return to the days of "just being a kid" and throwing the old pigskin around. As camp broke, Coach Fendall reiterated the message to all in earshot, "Let these kids have fun and teach them how to play the game safely.

"Good tackling technique, fundamentals, and balance between training and rest is what we can do to ensure these kids have a quality experience in all their sports."

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