Gridiron gang is back
Football season is kicking into gear again in Bay Roberts. The head of Football NL is pleased with the level of interest shown so far and hopes to soon spur interest in the sport a few communities over in Carbonear.
As summer winds down and temperatures begin to cool, weather signals the return of football.
As National Football League training camps concluded and teams finalized their rosters, Football NL president and technical director Brian Hughes was in Bay Roberts attempting to capitalize on a strong first season for the sport in the area.
Although just half-a-dozen players were on the field at Ascension Collegiate last week, they put themselves through a good workout that included ladder work, receiving route running and throwing the football.
Not every toss was a perfect spiral or efficient route run, but it’s a start, which suits Hughes just fine.
He wants to see improvement.
“What’s positive is that we have a number of young men eligible to play a second year because of their age that are back,” said Hughes.
Fledgling sports have a certain set of challenges when they move into their second year that they need to overcome. There is maintaining the interest from the previous season and trying to avoid spreading themselves too thin while attempting to add to the existing program.
“We’ve been really pleased,” said Hughes of the buzz around the second season.
As we all know, when it turns to the fall, hockey is king in this country. However, there are always those athletes looking for new challenges.
“We have players who want to try something new,” said Hughes. “They watch football on television. They want to put on a helmet and be like them.”
Hughes is looking to grow the game in another part of Conception Bay North this season.
Taking the 15-minute drive to nearby Carbonear, he is hoping to recruit players down there with eyes on melding them with the players already established in Bay Roberts.
“I’m hoping to get into the school and talk to the students there,” he said. “If Bay Roberts boys and girls want to play, then I have to believe that there are people in Carbonear who might want to play too.” Football is one of the most popular spectator sports in the world. Hughes hopes this exposure can help get players to come out for a look. He wouldn’t look to have two separate teams from this region. That might spread resources too thin. “I don’t want to get to the point where you go with two teams of 10,” said Hughes. “If we consolidate the resources onto one team, then the chances for success in year two become greater.”
Heading into its second season, Football NL is impressed with the group they currently have in the area.
A factor in the positive vibes coming from this group is the return of more than half-a-dozen players from the previous season. There were more players, but they had other commitments ahead of the first practice of the season.
Despite the low number, the Bay Roberts players have a thirst for the game and are eager to learn whatever they can. “The Bay Roberts boys have an advantage of being a community,” said Hughes. “The energy is there. They’re all coming back because they want to play again.” The next step for Football Nl will be to expand its reach to the lower age divisions. The group has a dozen or so under-11 players in St. John’s, and Hughes hopes to find more young players in this area. In a perfect world, the attraction of the older athletes playing would attract the younger kids to seek out the group.
Hughes would take it slow with the young group until they were ready to hit the field.
“If they come out, we can keep them,” he said. “It’s crucial to get the younger players.”
For more information on registration or if you have any questions, you can contact Hughes through his email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the Football NL website at www.footballnl.ca.
Sean Crane (centre) attempts to drive through the pad held by Alex Tucker as others players look during football practice at the soccer field behind Ascension Collegiate on Aug. 31.