The Strathmore Community Football Association (SCFA) Badgers' season started this week! Practices are underway and will be in full swing until game-time, which starts in September.

The SCFA has two teams:  PeeWee for10-12 years old as of Dec 31/22 and the Bantam team for 13-15 years old as of Dec 31/22. While practices started this Monday, President of the SCFA Doug Thiessen encourages everybody to join up until the second week of September. Even if you miss a week or two of practice he hopes to see you on the team!

Thiessen stressed the inclusivity of football, and said it's a sport that is open to anybody.

"Football is for both boys and girls. In the past we've had teams with up to 5 or 6 girls on the team and we've had a great time, and I'd like to see that continue again. I really would like to promote that more young ladies get involved in football," he said.

"Every body type is important on a football field. You have your bigger kids that are a little bit slower, they don't get as active in hockey or some of the other sports because they don't have the speed, but we need those big powerful kids to be able to do the blocking for us, to be the linemen. He's got a very important part on the team. On the same side, I need that small fast elusive kid to be a running back, to be a receiver, to be able to take people down to tackle them when they get in the open field. We can take all body types into the game, so everybody is important to the team, everybody is critical to the success of the team."

Thiessen went on to explain that football teaches many important lessons and skills that will benefit the players later in life. These include but are not limited to: learning how to work in a system and adapt, teaching kids at a young age how to be leaders, physical health, and team work.

"Football is the ultimate team game. If one person on that field isn't doing their job, the team will suffer. There is no 'superstar can fix everything' in football."

On top of all of the benefits, he added that he considers it to be the most fun sport because you're allowed to be physical. Other sports discourage contact and tell players to be gentle, but in football you can use your strength and skills to tackle and hit.

If you're concerned that the contact may be dangerous, especially for concussions, Thiessen wants to reassure you that football is way safer than you may think. He explained that it's not the same sport as 25-30 years ago, where you were taught to drive your head into someone to bring them down. These days, players are taught how to tackle without their head and keep it as contact free as possible. The rules of the game itself have been adjusted as well to eliminate head contact wherever possible, and if head contact does happen, the helmet quality has significantly improved for safety.

In the event that you do get hit in the head, concussion protocols are now mandatory for every team, so you won't be rushed back into a game if there is a risk of a concussion or worse damage. Even with all of this in place though, there is still a risk, but this is no different than any other physical activity that has the potential of an injury.

"i wont say concussions don't happen, I have had some happen. I would say they're not common."

Even if you're not interested in playing for the team, Thiessen hopes to have more fans cheering them on while they're at home.

"I would love to have more fans in the stand and people watching and cheering on the local team."

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