Spring is in the air, which in North Vancouver means one thing; the North Vancouver Flag Football League is about to start up once again. The league sports teams from the ages of grade one to university, and has over 1200 registered players with over 100 teams participating.
Wayne Theobald, one of the founders of the league and varsity football coach at Argyle Secondary, says the goal of the league is to make football fun and accessible for everyone.
“One of the reasons [we started the North Vancouver Flag Football League] is to help football grow on the North Shore and introduce football to many youth that wouldn't have an opportunity to otherwise try it. If players like it then they could join the Gordon Sturtridge Football League (GSL) to try tackle and hopefully for there go play on one of the five North Shore tackle teams — The North Shore has the most football teams of any city/town in BC.
We wanted to start a league where the main focus is that everyone works together to make the experience great for everyone and especially the youth.”
The rules of the North Vancouver Flag Football League are naturally different that what you would see any given Sunday. The games consist of two halves of 30 minutes, and each team gets two timeouts. Touchdowns are worth the usual six points, but the team who scored will get one point from the 5 yard line, and two from the ten yard line. There are six players on the field at a time, and the fields are 80 yards long with 10 yard end zones. In terms of defending, the rusher has to start 5 yards from line of scrimmage and snaps to the quarterback have to be in the shotgun formation.
Both Theobald, a youth counsellor, and his wife Lisa, a former teacher, have created a league that is like a family across all levels and age groups. For them, that is more important than the final score at the end.
“The most rewarding thing for Lisa and myself is just to see how much fun all the players, coaches,fans and refs have” Theobald said. “This has been a family affair and both our son nineteen years old, daughter seventeen years old have been in the league as players and referees. Our foster son is now playing in the league also. People in the community seem to take pride in our league and we have so many fantastic coaches that understand our league philosophy and that we are trying to help develop youth. Winning is a secondary goal.”
Futures plans for the league include helping the Howe Sound/Whistler and Pemberton youth football programs grow. The Theobalds also plan to expand their non-profit society New Directions Youth and Family Service, which is dedicated to improve the lives of youth and their families.
The first games are on Thursday, May 3rd with the 1A Women’s Division. Registration closes for all teams except the U23 team on June 2nd at 1:00 am. Registration is 95 dollars.
Written by: Nick Bondi