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Mon, Dec. 09

What's the dirtiest word<br>you can utter at GC? Football<br>

Is there a phobia about football in the Grand Canyon community? Based on the latest instance of a school official bringing up the subject, this seems to be the case.

Last week, there was an agenda item for the Grand Canyon School Board meeting for spring sports to be discussed. Part of the proposal by athletic director Dan Lopez included flag football to be played over three weeks in April.

Williams and Seligman would join Grand Canyon in this mini-league. It sounds like a great idea to me. I would welcome another sports alternative for our youth.

Despite the seemingly overwhelming support for soccer five months out of the year (AYSO plus middle school and high school), it doesn't seem to farfetched to allow kids to try a little flag football for three weeks.

The spring sports issue was tabled at the school board meeting with no discussion. Apparently, there were some pretty upset folks about a proposal for the sport.

It will be discussed Thursday at noon during a special school board meeting. Lopez was asked to do some more homework on the issue and re-explore the possibility of middle-school track or baseball instead.

This isn't the first time the community has expressed opposition to football. At the high-school level, proposals have come up a few times in recent years. Former athletic director Steve Boynton appeared to be headed in the direction of a football proposal while he was here last year.

I have nothing against soccer. It's a game that seems to be popular among students and that's the main thing. But I wonder, just how many students would be interested in playing football?

You hear about surveys done every once in a while. Last year, I believe a survey was done that showed there would be sufficient interest among students for the sport. But a few of the elders believed parents of those same kids would never let them play football anyway.

Now don't confuse the proposal by Lopez concerning middle-school flag football with the death of a high-school soccer program and a return of the Phantoms to the gridiron.

Lopez said he never thought flag football would lead to the high-school tackle version. It would just be another activity for middle-school boys while the girls are playing volleyball.

Now I will admit, football is my favorite sport to cover as a reporter. I think it would be exciting to see some of our younger athletes exhibit their speed and quickness.

When I was in middle school in Chandler, we had a flag football team. It introduced me to the sport and it was great fun, even though we went 0-6 and scored only one touchdown all season.

But here at Grand Canyon, football seems to be a dirty word — at least among the same group of people who voice their opposition. The soccer fans meet with school officials, they come to board meetings and they write letters to the editor. If there are football fans out there, they don't say much.

Maybe those sitting on the school board are big soccer fans. Maybe they're afraid football will catch on at the high-school level and wreak havoc with the budget. Maybe they're representing people who voted them on the board. I guess I'd have to ask them.

Maybe I'm in the overwhelming minority here with my opinions.

Those are questions that come to mind. If there are any football fans out there and you wouldn't mind seeing middle-school kids playing for three weeks this spring in the non-tackle version, come on out to Thursday's special meeting.

(Brad Fuqua is editor of the Grand Canyon News).

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