Munchkins Invade Corry Football Fields
Many high school and college football teams have already started their seasons and are looking forward to a successful year. That's also true for some younger players in Corry. Much younger players. They're in grades kindergarten through four and they're called ‘The Munchkins.’
The Munchkin Football League began in 2007 and has been going strong ever since. This year there's 127 players and 24 coaches. Teams with players from grades two through four play on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
"They're here to learn the basic fundamentals of football and the game as well as how to get along with each other on and off the field,” says Rob Cummings, League President.
The second through fourth grade players are the veterans. The league also has teams with kindergartners and first graders that play each other. How to you teach football plays to kindergartners?' Well, the coaches have an invaluable tool. It's a whiteboard. Before every play, the coaches show each player where to line up and where to run.
"So for that age, it's very simple through repetition. The beginning of the season now is a little rough. By the end of the year it's kind of a well-oiled machine,” Cummings said.
Cummings’ son Robert has been playing in the Munchkin League since he was a kindergartner. He is now in the fourth grade.
"When we were little, it was tricky. But as you adapt to it, it got easier,” he said.
Respect and fair play are two of the main things taught in the Munchkin League. The final score is not important. Neither are individual stats.
"My favorite part about it is playing on defense,” says Matthew Church, Third Grader.
"I want to go to the NFL and be a linebacker,” said Bennett Campbell, Fourth Grader.
Some former Munchkins cannot stay away. Hunter Savitz serves as an official and can’t help remembering back when he first learned the game.
"I started in Kindergarten and went all the way through. I was terrible. Absolutely terrible,” he said.
Hunter is now a member of the Corry High School varsity team and still carries with him the things he learned on the Munchkin League fields.
"I'm obviously playing in high school now, maybe college, and I'd sure like to become a coach later in life,” he said.
The Munchkin League has been so successful in preparing future Corry football players, young cheerleaders are now being trained at the games as well.