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  • Writer's pictureMarc Lalonde

Football season is here

Looking forward to getting back on the field with these guys.

And finally, finally – FINALLY – after a long winter. Maybe the LONGEST winter of my lifetime, football is back.

The greatest sport in the world – with apologies to really, anything else, because nothing else really stacks up – is football. Whether you agree or you don’t, there is really no comparison to anything else in terms of teaching kids to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

There is no sport that better tests the combination of outer strength, inner strength, mental fortitude and tenacity quite like football.

There is nothing that teaches young men – and women – the value of aggressiveness, assertiveness, courage and perseverance like football. No sport teaches people to work together in concert to accomplish a goal quite like football, and there is no more exciting place to be than at a football field on a cool, crisp autumn afternoon.

So, we are but a few weeks away from the spring portion of our Lakeshore football season. Spring practice doesn’t allow for games, but it does allow the kids to get back into the feeling of being in pads and getting into contact again.

The 2023 season is looking to be a good one for our program again.

Last season was another banner season, with all five of our age-group teams making their league finals and three of them were league champions.

Our bantam team led by head coach Ted Stote, was crowned interprovincial champions, after defeating the Greenfield Park Packers in the Quebec Bantam Football League provincial final and the Ontario champions Cumberland Panthers a week later.

Our peewee team, coached by Glen Cooper, was also successful in being crowned provincial champions, defeating the previously undefeated St. Leonard Cougars 57-20 in the final.

I was lucky enough to have coached on both those staffs and I’m excited about the upcoming season, where I will once more pull double duty with two teams as my son moves up from peewee to bantam. I’ll also be an assistant coach on our midget team.

We will be giving out equipment next week and practice will start four nights a week in May 1. It’s one of my favorite times of the year for the good and simple reason that I am always busy and when we are anxious – and emotional dysregulation is a primary drawback for adults with ADHD, so the less I am in my own head, the better.

It makes me feel alive and I think there’s no other place I’d rather be than on the football field.

I’d love to talk about some of the kids I’ll be coaching for a minute.

The sky is the limit for this kid. He's smart and tough as nails.

Last year, our bantam team’s starting quarterback, Daniel Devine, won the QBFL’s offensive MVP award after leading his team to a well-deserved championship. But he’s not really a quarterback. He’s more of a receiver and I hope that when football season rolls around that you, dear readers, come to check this kid out. He’s tenacious, athletic and smart – and I do think he will eventually play at a high level, and after that the sky’s the limit.

I’m looking forward to getting him on the practice field and working with him this season. Full disclosure: Daniel spends time strength training with me and his work ethic is impressive enough that no matter where he goes and what he does, he will have success.

We will use him at receiver, and he will be a dominant receiver. I predict an all-star season for the young man. I’m eager to see what fall brings for him.

There are a few kids I’m eager to work with once more at Lakeshore as they begin the end of their youth-football careers. I think of young men such as Owen Roarke, who is a smart, gifted athlete who can literally play any position and has even suited up at guard in his career.

The time the smart kid forgot his practice jersey

I think of young men such as Liam Conroy, who is gifted in ways he can’t understand and will be an incredible university defensive lineman one day.

I think of young men such as Matthew ‘Bull’ Rafla, who has played nothing but offensive line his whole career and who can be trusted to play biggest at the biggest moments.

I think of young men such as Vince Cohen, who literally delivered an MVP performance on one leg in last year’s interprovincial championship game.

I think of young men like Ryan Whitehouse, who will run through a wall for his team, get up and do it again on the next play. He played EVERY DOWN on both offense and defence for our bantam team last year and is truly a delight to coach. They all are.

Perfect blocking form. I'd hate to be the kid in green here.

That’s why I do it.

I think of my own son, who is matriculating into a dominant offensive lineman already and how excited he is to finally play some defensive line this season as well. His maturation has amazed me and I look forward to coaching him again this season.

Look out, QBFL. Cole's coming for ya.

It’s a great time to be alive, isn’t it?

Can't wait to run it back again this season.

Let's do it all again this season

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