HUT 1! HUT 2! HIKE! And the adorable chaos continues with another snap in a flag football league for first- and second-graders in Perry Township.
“The coaches tell the kids what to do, but I don’t think any of the players really know what they’re doing,” laughed Tiffany Bowman, whose daughter, Charlotte, is the only girl in the Falcon Youth Football League. “I know Charlotte doesn’t. Sometimes after she hikes the ball she just stands there.”
The league also offers tackle football for third- through sixth-graders and a cheerleading program. If you’re wondering how Charlotte wound up on a flag football team, it was her decision.
“I wanted Charlotte to get involved in something so we watched videos on football and cheerleading, and she chose football,” said Mrs. Bowman, who was a little surprised with her daughter’s decision. “I just didn’t want her sitting around after school.”
Neither mom nor dad Justin has a problem with Charlotte playing. “She really likes it, and it’s been a great experience for her,” Mrs. Bowman said. “I know she would like it even more if she wasn’t the only girl. We offer her a lot of encouragement, and so does her stepsister, Braylei.”
Grandmother Jeanne Peters attends the weekly games on Saturdays and is inspired by Charlotte.
“I look at her as showing other girls that anything is possible if you have the determination and willingness to complete what you start,” she said. Charlotte plays all positions, but she likes to run the ball because “I am a pretty good runner. I scored a touchdown in one of our games.”
She thinks she has pulled a few flags off the players from the opposing teams. And she is improving through the twice-a-week practices, saying, “I’m throwing the ball a little better, but it’s too big for my hand.”
The first practice didn’t go so well for Charlotte, and her mom wasn’t sure if she would stick with it. “The second practice went a little better ... and I just kept taking her back.” The coaches are great ... and really patient,” Bowman said.
“Charlotte doesn’t get any special treatment. The boys on her team are nice to her; they treat her great.”
She doesn’t think she is going to play football next year, but that could change if more girls turn out to play.
“I might try something different,” said Charlotte, who’s also active in karate and Girls Scouts.
A first-grader at Rosa Parks Elementary, Charlotte said she likes all of her classes, adding that she’s always well-behaved.