Saturday, June 20, 2009

All-star football games

On Friday night, the Pennsylvania State Football Coaches Association's annual East-West All-Star Game took place in Altoona.

Tonight, the Big 33 Football Classic kicks off in Hershey. Locally, the Tri-County Football Coaches Association BeeGraphix Football Classic (holy long title) starts at 7 p.m. at South Fayette.

It marks the 13th time the TCFCA game, formerly called the Pro Grass Football Classic, will be contested.

The game, and all other all-star football games taking place this weekend, gives one final showcase for Division I players before heading off to various programs throughout the country. That's especially true of the Big 33. The local game offers some recent high school graduates a final opportunity to play organized football. Others get a chance to play with future teammates, whether it be at Waynesburg, Washington & Jefferson or Robert Morris. For coaches, it's an opportunity to do what they love with a week of practices and game planning.

Personally, those reasons aren't enough to play these games.

Look back no further than last summer when former Trinity standout Mike Yancich was injured during practice for the Big 33. Yancich was not able to play in the game and it hindered preparations for his freshman year at Penn State.

I spoke with Yancich during his week in Hershey for the Big 33 and, despite the injury, he said he would do it again if given the opportunity. Got to respect Yancich's desire to play against top competition and experience something new. For me, that wouldn't be worth the risk.

Then, there's the timing of the games. It's just peculiar, even if there are few viable options.

Playing an all-star football game following the conclusion of the high school season has its flaws - winter weather being one and winter sports being another. That said, playing these games in mid-June, after the completion of the PIAA sports season, takes something away from it.

I'd like to open the forum to players, coaches, assistant coaches, players parents, all-star organizers and whomever would like to chip in. Let me know why you like these games and why they should continue. Tell me how off-base I am. Maybe you have an idea that could add a little luster to the games. Maybe you know another time they could be played.

Or maybe you agree with me.

This thread is yours.


Anonymous said...

Kids who make these all star games love to play and play with the kids they battled against for 3 or 4 years. Most would do it all over again if they had the chance and a majority of the kids playing in the tri county game will never put pads on again. Nothing but good comes out of these games Mike.

Anonymous said...

They enjoy playing the game. It's just that simple.

I guess people that only write about the game wouldn't know that.