Pop Warner fodder

Patrick Newell

I am enjoying the recent influx of “30 Seconds” call-ins that are giving me some sports fodder to discuss. Here are two callers’ recent entries:

“Pop Warner coaches should treat players equal, not just by name. Give all of them a chance. Government says no child left behind. Come on, let’s give all of them a chance.”

“I’d like to wonder why the Norwich Cyclones aren’t put on the back of the paper like the Norwich Tornados are. They play on Sunday. They’re a good team. Both of them. Would you please put it in?”

The first comment is all at once humorous. The No Child Left Behind Act was put into effect to increase the nation’s standard of education, and each state is held accountable in order to receive federal funding. It is focused on the elementary and secondary education levels, not sports, and certainly not a recreational football league. That aside, Pop Warner rules require that every player on the team must participate a minimum number of plays during the game. Just like any competitive sport, the more talented players get more playing time. Guaranteed playing time, even if it is just a few plays, is not a bad deal. As competition and overall skills increase at higher levels of sports, playing time is designated for the athletes who give a team the best chance to win. Lesser players see lesser time or may not play at all. I know that reality quite well from my high school experience.
The second comment is easy explainable, and clearly the words of a parent unfamiliar with the reporting process.
Again, Pop Warner is a private organization unaffiliated with any local schools, and is youth-based with an age range of approximately 8 to 14. There are no standards of reporting those results, nor is it required by the coaches and organizers of the league to do so – unlike high school scholastic sports.
The reporting of weekly Cyclones results is done through the hard work and dedication of Norwich Pop Warner founder and organizer, Jim Edwards. He continues to put forth countless volunteer hours each year to maintain the program, and dutifully gathers information for each game, and submits the results to The Evening Sun. Typically, Mr. Edwards drops off or e-mails the results by Tuesday, and we print those results Wednesday or Thursday.
There would be zero Norwich Pop Warner coverage in our paper without Jim Edwards.

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