Growing up is a difficult time. We are constantly changing, learning more about ourselves, and trying to fit in with those around us.

Anyone can tell you that your formative years in elementary school are some of the most important in building relationships that will last the rest of your life.

A group of elementary schoolers
Credit: Canva

The Boys and Girls Club of Sierra Vista is using sports to help bridge that gap.

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Tackle Loneliness

Partnered with the National Football League, the Sierra Vista chapter of the Boys and Girls Club has been running a flag football league for its members for the past few years.

Young Boy running with football
Credit: Canva

The NFL provides jerseys and flags, as well as a basic rule book, but it is up to members of the community to put the teams into action. Coaches will lead two one-hour practices per week, with games being played on Saturdays.

A Week in the Life

I am the head coach for the 11u (11 and under) Cardinals, a team made up of around eight members of the Sierra Vista Boys and Girls Club. Our practices usually begin with a quick team meeting, some hype-up, quick stretches, and then practicing plays.

Flag football players trying to stop the offense
Credit: Canva

We focus on getting all the players a chance to shine, developing plays that showcase each player's unique ability. Morale boosting is a massive part of the coaching job that requires you to see the potential in every player and utilize those strengths to your team's benefit.

Games are played at a local, public field. Both teams will meet, shake hands at the center, and then play two 15-minute halves. The rules allow players to show off skills without hurting anyone else physically. After the game has ended, coaches will meet with their players, quickly break down the game, and then head home, preparing for the next practice.

Young flag football players lined up
Credit: Canva

This program helps students to grow alongside their peers and learn the importance of teamwork, and that makes the BGC Flag Football program one of the most important in Cochise County.

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