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Reflections on the joy of football

GUEST ESSAY

The season's over and it's that time of year for coaches to reflect on what they could have done better.

Most coaches are evaluated by the win/loss tally. But youth coaches are judged by greyer areas - which can expand or constrict, depending on which column has the higher number in it.

When any coach assembles his team he does so with the goal of winning. This is not an easy task in youth football. We try to assemble a team that will be competitive, not necessarily win, but be in the game. We have to deal with a variety of talent levels, attention spans and that each child playing doesn't get hurt. With this assessment, it's difficult to assure each child equal playing time.

Anyone that has played football knows that it is a ruthless sport. Children who don't know their assignment or aren't paying attention can easily become part of the turf. Believe me; this weighs heavy on youth coaches' hearts. We teach each player the fundamentals and how they relate to each position. Some get it right away, some take longer and some never will.

But our league has rules that keep that safety in mind. The good coaches stick to those rules even when it can put more numbers in the loss column.

I've always loved football and I would never discourage anyone from playing the game. I appreciate every child that joins the team and finishes the season.

There are a lot of reasons why kids join youth football. Some are there because they have the talent or competitive drive, some love the sport, many seek to be with their friends and others because that's what their father wants. Whatever the reason, these kids in Warrensburg Youth Football had a great season and their final 2009 games showed that.

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