News Football Fields

Idaho Press Tribune 5 Sep 2002 - Page 4a

Football fields open for fall games

Community: Hundreds of young athletes break in new fields with
touchdowns, tackles

Lora Volkert

NAMPA -- A rainbow of shiny jerseys swarmed opening night of the new Optimist Football Park in Nampa.

Hundreds of boys stormed the field Wednesday for a game of scrimmage to break in the park behind Birch Elementary School.

Nineteen teams -- with monikers including the Mighty Mustangs, the Vikings, the Tornadoes and the Big Dogs -- will play this year.

Close to 400 football players in hulking shoulder pads and more than 100 cheerleaders in black, pleated skirts signed up for the Nampa Optimist Football League.

The new park, a collaborative project of the Optimists, Nampa Parks and Recreation and Urban Renewal, allowed the Optimists to expand the program.

Help still needed Optimist Football League organizer Ken Wilson said the Optimists are still short $75,000 for a storage building for football gear. To donate, call Wilson at 880-1099 or Kenny Wroten at 467-5797.

Ken Wilson, head of the Optimist Football Committee, said teams will play at the park every Saturday through October. He encouraged everyone to watch the young players compete.

Wilson thanked the many donors and volunteers who contributed to the park’s construction and the 125 football coaches dedicating many hours a week to their teams.

Nampa Mayor Tom Dale was pleased to see the park completed despite having to overcome the financial hurdles of a sluggish economy. He thanked the park’s contributors for seeing it through.

"The life lessons the young athletes learn will make the community wide effort worthwhile," Dale said. "We’ll watch these kids parade through this field... and persevering through pain and obstacles," he said. "We’re ready to celebrate kids, teamwork."

Reprinted by permission of Idaho Press Tribune
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