Spartans gear up for season start
FOOTBALL. The season is about to start for Quebec’s oldest civil amateur football association, and the Saint-Laurent Spartans are still open for registration.
Enrolment has been on the decline in recent years, something head coach of the Bantam team, Steve Batsos, credits to an increase in high school football programs. “The high school system is depleting the players from the civil system,” Batsos said.
With practices three times a week, and more individualized attention, the civil league gives players the opportunity to succeed in the sport.
There are seven coaches for roughly 30 players (per team) means more specific attention based on position, he explained. “We do warm ups. Calisthenics, stretching . . . and break off into individual units. They get drilled and do a lot of exercises for their particular position.”
All coaches are certified to identify concussions and have a safety protocol to follow.
“Because football is under the microscope we’re taking a lot of precautions and we’re educating ourselves,” said Batsos, who has been coaching with the Spartans for eight years.
Children up to the age of 15 are wearing the same equipment as professional football players, Batsos explained.
The boys do not only cultivate football skills, but friendships. Batsos has been with the Bantam team, who are now aged 14-15 years old, since they were eight.
“You see them become men. We’ve won a lot of games but I’ll only know if they’ve been a success 20 years from now when I see they’ve become good fathers, husbands and members of the community.”
The St. Laurent Spartans, Quebec’s oldest civil amateur football association, are in their 63rd year. Registration is still open for the 2016-17 season.
The St. Laurent Spartans on the bench in 1954.