Church welcomes football players, cheerleaders

Upward Sports

Well, the days are getting shorter, schools are preparing to start and leaves will soon be changing color and falling off trees. These signs all point to the conclusion that it must almost be … football season.
For the sixth consecutive year, Gilroy’s South Valley Community Church invites students throughout South Valley to participate in a local Upward Sports program. Both boys and girls can participate in flag football and cheerleading.
Each week beginning Sept. 4, there will be practice sessions held at El Roble Elementary School, 930 Third St., Gilroy. Games are played each Saturday at El Roble, beginning Sept. 22. The cost to participate is $110, which includes jerseys and flags for the football players and uniforms and pom poms for cheerleaders. All participants receive a gift at the awards ceremony marking the season’s end. Volunteers, coaches and referees are also recognized at the awards night, and an entertaining speaker addresses the audience.
Last year approximately 250 boys and girls participated, but there is room for more this year since middle school students are now included. Limited scholarship assistance is available.
Upward Sports is the world’s largest Christian sports program for children and was created to provide the best sports experience possible for every participant. Each year, some 1 million people around the world play, coach, referee or volunteer in some other capacity at leagues hosted by more than 2,600 churches.
Anyone of any faith or no religion at all can participate in Upward Sports. The program, designed for students in grades kindergarten through eighth, strives to “bring out the winner in every child, regardless of the game’s score.”
Unlike the very competitive leagues that emphasize “winning at any cost,” Upward Sports emphasizes healthy competition, sportsmanship, building skills and fun. The program equips participants with sport fundamentals and has some unique aspects:
– Each child is evaluated before the team selection process to create balanced teams. The evaluation session will be held Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
– It practices a unique substitution system that guarantees equal playing time.
– It teaches athletic skills and values for success on and off the playing field.
– Family schedules are respected through scheduling only a single weekly one-hour practice and a one-hour game.
– Supportive coaches and a positive environment work together to bring out the “winner in every child.”
– Every child is part of the starting line-up during the season.
There are several negative points concerning many sports programs that Upward Sports has taken into account in designing this program. The top reasons children quit playing organized sports are not having fun, coaches who play favorites, too much emphasis on competition and frustration from not getting to play regularly. In addition, studies have shown that many young athletes believe cheating and arguing with officials are acceptable behavior.
Adult volunteers with a love of football are invited to participate, but must submit to a mandatory background check. Donations are also being solicited. For more information, call (408) 848-2363, extension 151, or visit upwardsportsgilroy.com.

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