Former Chicago Bear Israel Idonije to speak at Golden Eagles Football event May 1
Football season is approaching quickly. If your son or daughter is interested in taking part in Golden Eagles's flag or tackle football programs, sign them up with the Glen Ellyn Park District before June 1 to avoid late fees.
Families are invited to learn more about the program during a special event at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, in the cafeteria of Glenbard West High School, 670 Crescent Blvd., Glen Ellyn.
Speakers include Glenbard West head coach Chad Hetlet, Glenbard South head coach Ryan Crissey, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Aaron Bare, Golden Eagles mom Brandy Larrance, and former Chicago Bear Israel Idonije.
"The programs are open to anyone who wants to play flag or tackle football," said Clint Babicz, assistant superintendent of athletics for the Glen Ellyn Park District. "Any student-athletes in any community are welcome."
The tackle program is open to ages 7-14. New for 2019, the flag program has been extended to include children in first to sixth grade.
Regular registration for both the flag and the tackle football teams runs through June 1.
Late registrations will be accepted from June 2 through July 15; however, the fee increases $25 for flag and $50 for tackle.
Registration can be completed online at gepark.org or in person at the Spring Avenue or Main Street Recreation Centers. A payment plan option is available for those enrolling in tackle football during regular registration, with 50 percent due at registration and the balance due on June 1.
The season begins in early August and runs through mid-October for flag football, and through the beginning of November for tackle football.
"Flag teams practice one to two times per week until school begins, and then will generally practice one day per week with a game on the weekend," explained Babicz. "Tackle teams will practice five days a week until school begins, and then will practice on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays with a game played on the weekend."
Participation in youth football provides many benefits to the kids.
"The physical activity leads to improved fitness, and the players develop social and teamwork skills," said Babicz. "It increases their self-esteem, and most importantly, it allows the players to simply have fun."
The objectives of the program include developing skills with a focus on fundamentals, building confidence and self-esteem during practices and games, providing regular exercise throughout the season, teaching leadership skills, and teaching and reinforcing respect for the rules, for the game, and for others.
"Players learn the value of teamwork and good sportsmanship, and will develop strong relationships with others due to the social aspect of the game," added Babicz.
Babicz enjoys working with parent volunteers and watching everything come together in order to provide a quality program and a terrific experience for the players. "Nothing makes me happier than seeing players improve from the beginning through the end of the season," he said. "We may not see it in the scores, but if the players have fun, learn new skills, and improve both as athletes and as people, then I consider it a successful season."
Volunteers are an integral part of the park district programs.
"From coaching to helping organize picture day and other activities, the program is successful as a result of the many volunteers helping out," said Babicz.
If anyone is interested in volunteering, additional information can be found at www.glenellynfootball.com.