Madison youth will kickoff a new season of Under The Lights Flag Football soon.
“Scoring is just the same as contact football. The major difference is you don’t need all the gear. You’re not wearing the helmet. You’re not wearing the pads,” Commissioner Dan Hawk said.
Games will often run in the evening whenever possible. Players will participate in a modified season this year. The tentative schedule includes several Sundays in May with the playoffs/ championship landing in June.
“It’s another opportunity to get out and be a part of a team, to get out and be active, be a part of a community,” Hawk said.
The league is open to both boys and girls of all skill levels. There are no tryouts or drafts; rosters are formed by “friend” or “coach” request. Single players are placed on teams based on school, neighborhood or organization as the other players on the team.
“There will be music and food as we progress,” Hawk said.
He hopes this season will provide a fun atmosphere for players and their families at historic Breese Stevens Field. Hawk also encourages parents to get involved with their kids’ teams.
“If you sign your kid up to play, you have the option to coach that team and you go through your certification,” Hawk said.
In fact, all coaches are volunteer parents and not provided by Under the Lights. Under The Lights Madison is currently scouting coaches and assistant coaches from the community. Hawk also said the commitment for both parents and players is reasonable.
“You always practice the day of your game,” he said. “The time commitment is a lot lower which is nice.”
Hawk, a longtime basketball coach and community sports leader, explains flag football offers youth a chance to try football without the risks associated with contact football.
“There’s not a lot of contact. There’s very low chance of kids getting hurt,” he said.
Sometimes contact football is a little too scary so this gives kids who play other sports such as soccer to give football a chance. Hawk also said contact football players jump in but don’t always tend to be the best players in flag football.
“It’s a competitive environment but we’re looking at community and involvement,” he said. “Right now, there are about a hundred kids signed up. We’re looking at about 50 more next week before we close registration.”
Hawk also said the league will play it safe this year as they get started. Kids will be required to wear a mask and families must follow all other COVID safety precautions.
Under The Lights, a nation-wide program, also happens to be the exclusive youth flag football partner of Under Armour, Inc. Registered participants will receive an Under Armour game shirt and shorts. Registration is $195; siblings receive a $25 discount.