By Jill Fox
Down…set…hike—a familiar phrase will finally be heard in Parkland as flag football players return to the fields at Pine Trails Park.
Tuesday was the first day back for the recreational league made up of athletes from kindergarten through high school. It was also their first attempt at following the new guidelines imposed by the board to protect against COVID-19.
Along with the flag football board, President Matt Kaufman was tasked with creating a long list of protocols for the community to adhere to.
“More than anything else, we need to focus on what is paramount this year,” he wrote, “The safety of everyone involved and the kids having a great experience.”
Although the game plan consists of a long list of new guidelines, 600 families are ready and willing to get back to the gridiron.
These include taking children’s temperatures before leaving home for practices or games and using hand sanitizer at half time and on the sidelines. No team snacks, drinks, or shared coolers are allowed after the games.
Forget high fives and fist bumps too — no physical contact is allowed between players, or between players and coaches to express excitement, sportsmanship, or celebration.
Kaufman wrote, “Get creative and make up your own contactless expression.”
It’s not just for the kids; the parents have a list of rules to follow.
Only one parent may attend games and practices, and spectators who refuse to wear a mask will not be allowed to be on the field. Parents are also required to clean and sanitize their child’s flag after each practice and game.
Before practices began, all parents must sign a waiver agreeing to abide by the new guidelines.
Kaufman wrote it does not matter what jersey your child wears.
“We all have the same goal — to have a full season of watching the kids enjoy themselves.”
The flag football season officially starts on September 8 and runs through November.
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- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked on the public relations side as well as the television side of marketing for NBC Universal. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach and now resides in Parkland with her husband, Brian and their two children, Madden, 11 and Randi, 7.
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