Football is being put on the sidelines in Penticton this fall.
Penticton Minor Football Association cancelled its season due to low registration as only one player showed up to McNicoll Park field ready to play. Coach Trent Lennox is disappointed the association has been forced to make that decision. PMFA secretary/registrar Lorraine Sopow is not surprised, but extremely disappointed as she loves the game.
New coach Trent Lennox added they are committed to next season with a plan to go to school and recruit kids, as well as through the Penticton Indian Band.
Part of the problem PMFA is having in getting players is because of hockey and the contact in football.
Sopow said that the overlap with hockey can work for those playing house hockey. She explained that football coaches are aware that players could have various commitments and there are days they miss practice.
“We have had many hockey players that have done both. Our seasons only overlap slightly,” said Sopow. “Especially now as we are focusing on just local programs and not playing in the league at this point, there is no travel and this is less of a time commitment (and money).”
With contact, Sopow constantly hears from parents, specifically mothers with an apology sent their way, that they don’t like the tackling and are afraid their kids will get hurt. During practices, coaches teach players the proper technique to tackle and how to take one safely.
“They wear proper equipment and it is not some kind of free-for-all of tackling other players,” said Sopow.
Lennox, who has played in the B.C. Football Conference and at the college level with Washington State and UBC, will have to wait to make an impact as a coach.
Most of his experience is as a defensive co-ordinator. He worked at the bantam level. The team he was with won a single game the year before he joined.
“We weren’t a very good team,” said Lennox, who played the strong safety position. “Three years later, we went undefeated and won provincials.
“I loved coaching football,” continued Lennox. “It was the greatest thing I’ve ever done.”
The work he put in with the players helped some of them play at higher levels.
Sopow, who plans to take a back seat with PMFA to let others take the reins, likes Lennox and his wife Josie. Sopow came across them by accident as Lennox wasn’t sure what Penticton had for football and wanted to get his own kids playing. He’s just looking for the chance to coach kids that want to give the sport a chance.
Anyone interested in learning more about PMFA can visit www.pentictonminorfootball.com.