Starting up social media for a 6th grade football team, done by a proud parent too.
I fought almost tooth and nail with my son this summer about attending a football camp. He has enjoyed baseball since he was 6 years old, and played competitively for 3 years now, but the pace of baseball for little boys is not conducive to paying attention, nor is it particularly challenging physically. Those attributes of Little League actually figured in his decision. Who says kids are not paying attention?
The fact that he did not get hit in baseball, not counting hit batsmen, was one of the reasons he picked for playing baseball over football, and then there enters the inevitable father/son tensions, and once I told him I was going to enroll him in a football camp, the loud refusals and the not so loud pouting began. Please note that I did not tell him he had to join a team, just attend a four day camp.
And more than once, I thought to myself, why are you forcing him to do this? And the real reason down deep I kept reminding myself was that I wanted him to develop a camaraderie with his team mates. I played in Junior High School and High School and College and while I seldom think of won-lost records, I think of my team mates quite often. I hope all of them are well, and actually I just reconnected with an old buddy of Facebook this month. Shane is going to school in a small town and I want him to have close friendships with his classmates, friendships that last a lifetime.
So I stuck to my guns on the camp, and he finally got it that he was going to have to endure eight hours of hell over four days in July, but he was damned if he was going out for the team.
So we get to the first practice and of the kids out there, 26 I think, he knows all of them, but up to the moment that I dropped him off for his last day, he was adamant that he was not going to join, and I was OK with his not joining the team, because he had taken care of his side of the bargain.
An unexpected benefit at least for me from his joining the team was him walking up to the car after his first night of camp, drenched in sweat, and beaming. He had undertaken a hard physical challenge, and had gotten through it, and I was really grateful to Coach Hamilton and his staff for challenging the boys, because at home he cannot be bothered with doing yard work, but he does want weights. Go figure.
And then his last night of camp, after he had refused my offer to take some of his summer chores off the table, if he signed up, he came walking up to the car, and told me that he needed to be at practice Monday night. I restrained myself from cheering, and asked him what had changed his mind, and he said his friends said he was good, and they wanted him on the team, so he said yes.
That weekend we got his equipment, and took him to practice Monday, and about two weeks later, as he was headed out the door in his gear, I noticed a very new dimension to his gait, confidence.
Fast forward a month, and one hip pointer, and a week out due to strep throat, and his team had their first game, and parents for both teams lined both sides of the field, probably a couple hundred of us, which is where social media comes into play for me.
I look at all the players there, and I think to myself that social media could be a way to keep small town enthusiasm for their children’s athletics strong. If we can keep lots of kids and parents involved the kids have a village to raise them. The football game was much better than Little League games by the way. I was really surprised that there was such good coordination of effort by 22 boys, carrying out offensive and defensive assignments. The coaches were vocal but under control, and they are all volunteers, I believe. As the game wore on though, some of that coordination broke down as substitutions became confused.
So I took some quick little flip camera videos and loaded them to Youtube and the tagged the Winnebago Park District, and myself, and put them up on the Winnegbago 6th grade football team fanpage, and I want to invite everyone to do the same. I cannot think of a better tribute to the efforts of the boys, Coach Hamilton, and his staff and the Winnebago Park District than a bit of notoriety that comes with some online fame and fortune.
Why not a Winnebago Social Media Celebration that honors the boys and girls and their hard work and their coaches and teachers and (you fill in the blank)?
So help me out folks and lets get some Winnebago folks famous on Youtube and Facebook?
Perhaps you would like to see one of the videos from the Winnebago 6th grade football team? Here it is.
Small Town Social Media