Footballs flew through the air as St.FX University coaches and players held clinics at two New Glasgow schools last week.
StFX head coach Gary Waterman and defensive coordinator Jonathon Svek oversaw a June 12 clinic at A.G. Baillie Memorial School, while five X-Men players taught the youngsters some passing and catching fundamentals, and conducted agility and defensive back drills.
“The students have been loving it,” said Waterman.
“They’re engaged, so it’s been really positive. To work with kids and to introduce them to the sport for the first time. And the players are really having a blast. It takes them back to when they first started playing.”
The instructors kept things high-energy, always positive, always instructing the kids, who dove into their assignments with enthusiasm, eager to learn.
“It’s awesome to give kids exposure to a sport they don’t normally get a chance to experience,” said Connor Ross, an Annapolis Valley native who is entering his third year as a tight end at X.
“And it’s nice to give back.”
The players and coaches ran a similar session June 14 at New Glasgow Academy.
The clinics came about because of a partnership between Highland Nissan in New Glasgow and the football program at StFX; Highland Nissan loaned the school a Nissan Pathfinder for eight months to transport X-Men recruits to and from the airport.
In return for loaning them the vehicle, X-Men Football promised they would have some of their players go into a few Pictou County schools and take over their physical education programs for a day and introduce kids to the game.
AN EMPTY BACKFIELD
Pictou County is one of the few areas in the province that does not have a minor football program.
“One of our long-term goals,” is to instill the sport into Pictou County and other regions of the province, said Football Nova Scotia executive director Karen Oullette.
“We’re here to help programs, and we’ve got the tools to help get them going. We just need to find the champion (at the local level), and that’s the challenge. You need a committee so start, and someone to take on the lead role (and) we’d do everything we can to support them.”
Some parts of Nova Scotia have a Mites program for seven and eight-year-olds (U9), and more than 700 children in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) take part in U8, U9, U10 and U12 programs.