Saturday, October 5, 2013
By Jeri Packer, Staff Writer
The Thumb Area Football League Cancer Games, sponsored by the Algonac Youth Football and Cheer Team, convened at Algonac High School football field on Saturday for a concentrated effort at, one
day, putting an end to cancer.
It was a community event: There were 900 football players in "Tackle for a Cure" and 250 cheerleaders "Cheering for a Cure", all second through seventh graders, on four different fields, said the TAFL Cancer Games Committee Chair Jan Evans. Algonac, Anchor Bay, Cros-Lex, Port Huron, Richmond and Yale all participated. Evans estimated about 6,000 in all attended the event.
"It's a real story about how kids come together for a cause," Evans said.
The American Cancer Society has representatives visit each game and scores on how much "pink power" is shown for the cause, so everyone tries to wear, or accessorize with, as much of the pastel hue as possible. This year, Evans said, the participation topped any other year by far.
"All the young athletes, football players and cheerleaders were wearing pink, as well as their fans," said Evans. "Thousands of people came and it was a just a sea of pink."
There were all sorts of activities simultaneously going on throughout the day. At noon, there is a special survivor lap ceremony, with cheerleaders lining the high school track 'Cheering for a Cure' as the survivors celebrated their victory over cancer. A mini relay also went on around the high school football field on the track. Each community was challenged to provide assigned walkers carrying a community baton, so there was always someone walking on the track.
Participants also put pennies in community buckets and competed in the Penny Wars. Pennies are worth one point each and any silver coin or dollar bill takes away points from opposing communities when put in their bucket. A Community Commitment Award Trophy is presented to the community showing the most participation in supporting family and friends dealing with cancer. Richmond was last year's recipient. The 2013 trophy winner will be announced in a couple weeks, after all the points have been tallied.
The Cancer Quilt has been lovingly made by hand by the "Piece to Peace Quilters" from the Algonac Church of Christ. The quilt was started last year at the TAFL Cancer Game and now has more than 850 names written from people touched by cancer in some way. Dolores Crampton is one of the quilters from the group. She said when they started the idea at a Tackle for a Cause event last year; they received their first 36 names.
They have brought the Cancer Quilt to many more activities and events throughout the year, including the Algonac Art Fair. The purpose of the quilt is to bring awareness to what cancer is doing to communities and families. The "Piece to Peace Quilters" collected donations all day to give to the American Cancer Society on behalf of the Thumb Area Football League, though visitors are not required to give a donation. They have already raised more than $2,500 this year for the TAFL Breast Cancer Campaign, made possible through some matching funds from the local Women's Life 883 organization.
Crampton said the quilt is actually made up of strip quilts, in many pieces. It will never be able to be sewn together--It would too big to transport, she said. They categorized each name in a book, according to which square the contributor signed on and give them a chance to write down a few words. The name and location on the quilt can be easily found by referring to the book.
"They like to see what they wrote, if they forget where it was," she said.
People aren't required to talk about their personal heartache with cancer while contributing to the quilt but Crampton said they usually want to.
"Some of the people take three or more times or more to bring themselves to tell us their stories and write the name," she said. "Many of them cry and we cry with them and they go away with a good feeling of keeping their memory close to them."
Algonac Woman's Life 883 sponsored a Harvest Food and Craft Show a few blocks down at the Clay Township Park. They raised $168 in their Old Bag Sale for the Coats for Kids Program alone. Proceeds from this event benefitted the Algonac/Clay Historical Society as well as Coats for Local Kids. Woman's Life Insurance Society matched the first $500 raised at the event.
Contact Jeri Packer at (586) 716-8100, ext 302; firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JeriPacker.
As the 2013 Football and Cheerleading registration approaches quickly, the Thumb Area Football and Cheerleading League is proud to announce the introduction of Online Registration. To apply online will help families and coaches pre-register before they come to the assigned registration dates in their chosen community This process will help to save the parents time and paperwork. There will also be payment options that will help families so they can pay via credit card (Mastercard & Visa) at time of online registration or on their communities registration day. Parents may also choose the pay later option by choosing the Pay by Check option so they can pay when they come in to be fitted properly for the football and cheerleading uniforms.
As TAFL continues to grow it is vital that we continue to update and improve our management systems for an effective, efficient youth football and cheerleading program. Each of our communities will be taking part in the Online Registration process in 2013 through their individual community websites. You may also choose to hit the community at the left side of this screen to direct you to your individual communities online registration and information.
WELCOME to the 2013 Football and Cheerleading Season!!
Heads Up Football is USA Football's comprehensive approach for a better, safer game with an emphasis on player safety.
The Heads Up Football program was created by USA Football with support from the NFL.
The program focues on four key areas:
- Concussion Awareness
- Proper Equipment Fitting
- Coaching Education
- Heads Up Tackling which takes the head out of the line of contact.
All of this combined will help our TAFL Football Players be more confident, efficient tacklers while helping to improve safety.
To learn more watch the videos below:
HEADS UP TACKLING VIDEO
Concussion Awareness Brochure