Headlines that include happenings in Texas have become more attractive for me to read since moving down here.
I always like to think that there’s going to be something big going on in the area surrounding where I currently am, although that’s rarely the case since this state is so freakin’ big.
But when I saw a tweet saying, “A youth football league in Texas makes players sign letters of intent like they’re high-school stars committing to college programs. One big difference: These kids are 4 years old,” I wasted no time clicking on the link.
I was foiled again that this news wasn’t coming out of the Houston area but instead Odessa, where the Permian Basin Youth Football League instituted these binding letters of intent so as to put the recruitment process to an end once pen is put to paper.
The director of the league had enough of coach after coach after coach hounding families to play with their team and finally added this step of commitment to set the rosters in stone.
Don’t worry though, the four-year olds don’t put the pads on right away and play flag-football for two years before hitting the six-year mark allowing them to strap it up for real.
Of course, some aren’t thrilled with the idea while others expand the ceremonies into an ordeal similar to when top athletes announce the end of their free-agency by signing with a certain team.
I for one, without a horse in the race, kind of love this idea.
Youth football is all about growing a passion for the game and when you’re starting out, that National Letter of Intent is the first step to achieving the dream of reaching the pros.
That was my dream when I was these kids ages so maybe if I got that chance I could be in the league now … alright, maybe not but you get the point.
But to start that process and get them in the mindset of their commitment to a team means that much I feel will only elevate their want to sign a real one after their high school careers are over.
Those who are getting closer to that goal get to tour the biggest schools around on official visits to see where will be the best fit for them.
They get to put on the school’s colors and uniforms and stage cool pictures for them to announce where they’re going once they decide.
This year, there have been a few pictures leaked from visits at schools like Florida, Missouri, Kentucky and Penn State where one of the top athletes in the nation is sporting the colors of the prospective school while being flanked by a bigger version of themselves, their dads.
It’s one heck of a way to reel in the parents of these big-fish recruits and it’s another phenomenon that people are on both sides of and another where I’m on the side for it.
Again, I would have loved to have an opportunity like this but again, if I were going to the league a lot of things would be different.
But for many, there’s no bigger impact on many young men who grow up playing football than their fathers and I think this is a really cool way to show them some love for all the sacrifices they made as well.