A Football State
Unless you are *brand* new to the Iowa City area, you already know that football is king around here. Saturdays at Kinnick stadium, Friday nights at the local high schools, and a downtown covered in black and gold year round–we are big, big fans. In fact, one of our beloved former Hawkeyes is being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this year! Iowa born and raised, former Hawkeye left tackle and Big Ten All American Robert Gallery is joining the ranks of “hall of famer” in 2023, and we could not be more proud. Many of us Iowa City Moms were students at the U of I when Robert was on the team, so this is such an exciting announcement for us!
Start ‘Em Young
As a mom of little ones, if you’re dreaming of the day you’ll be sitting in those stands on Friday night (or even Saturday morning!) watching your future hall-of-famers, you may be asking, “where do we begin?” And the answer to that is simple: flag football! Flag football is a great introduction to the sport, and our community has a number of options for your kiddos to get started. ICM contributor Jen’s son plays on the local Red Zone team, and their family has LOVED the experience!
“It really taught the kids how to work together and communicate with each other. Everyone on the field has a job to do, a route to run, or someone to defend. On the parent side, it was a great way to meet other parents and families.” –Jen, flag football mom
We were also able to chat with one of the Red Zone coaches, Jonah Parker, who shared what it’s like to be a football family and how this sport has positively affected their household:
“Flag football has really been a great experience for out family as it truly is a family event. I help to coach our oldest son’s team so get to spend time with him at practices (as do several other parents who volunteer to coach or opt to stay and help with practices), but our entire family goes to games together, including my wife and our two younger sons. Our middle loves to join us on the sidelines and be a part of the team with his big brother while our youngest loves sitting with mom and his new friends on the sidelines cheering for his brother. Speaking of mom, she’s gone from no interest in football to somewhat of an afficionado as she watches each week and cheers fiercely for his boy. Beyond our immediate family, grandparents and cousins have been incredibly supportive and attend multiple games each season. It’s a great way to bring the family together and celebrate afterward – win or lose!” –Coach Parker
Find Flag Football Programs Near Us!
We are so excited to be partnering with the National Football Foundation again this year to help spread the word about all of the ways that football (in this case flag football) can have a positive impact on your child and your family. Their Future for Football campaign has an incredible mission to promote all kids–both boys AND girls–starting football early in these flag leagues and benefitting from all of the wonderful ways that sports can positively impact their lives from a young age.
Being a part of a team, working toward a common goal, learning to be a good sport and be respectful of opposing team members–all of those lessons (and more!) are waiting for your little ones out there on the field. Looking to get started? Check out the League Finder on the National Football Foundation website for a list of programs in our area!
If we haven’t convinced you yet, check out this glowing review of our local teams:
I think the biggest thing for beginners is to understand there are all skill levels that participate and it can be a fun, enjoyable experience for everyone regardless of or prior experience or knowledge of football. The practices area great way for kids to burn some energy, spend time with friends and learn in a structured environment. While different leagues may have differing rules, all do a great job promoting sportsmanship and most have rules in place to ensure everyone gets plenty of opportunity to take the field and touch the ball if they want. Beyond that, playing a team sport is a great way to learn teamwork and work well with others. It can be a time commitment with weekly practices and games, but it’s been a really great experience for our family and I would absolutely encourage anyone considering flag football to give it a try! –Coach Parker