This past weekend was foreign for many Americans, as it was the first weekend without NFL football since September. Although this void may be quickly filled in the upcoming weeks with other sporting events, spring chores and family celebrations, the reminiscence of the football season will remain potent through the various apparel, window clings and home decor of the leagues most faithful fans. But to those fans I dare to ask this question, “Where did it all begin?”
Some will answer this with September 17, 1920, the day the American Professional Football Association was formed. For others, it is June 24, 1922 when the league was reconstructed into the National Football League. For the gostrive team, the answer is very different.
Every professional athlete starts somewhere. Their inspiration, drive and determination can spawn from any moment, person or object. For many, the beginning is in their local park. Whether it is a camp, league or clinic, children are inspired to embrace activity and passion. Often, this passion leads to a love for a particular activity that never fades.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers quarterback and two-time MVP got his start with his local parks and recreation agency. Rodgers was an all around athlete, as he played football, basketball and baseball. As early as age ten he received recognition for not only his participation, but also his passion in local programs. His passion continued through his childhood, as he participated in various leagues and camps. As he grew, his devotion to the game of football deepened, and through his hard work and persistence he is the professional athlete that he is today.
So faithful fans, I now challenge you. This offseason, get involved your parks and recreation agency. Enter your children into camps, clinics and activities that interest them. It is these moments that inspire them for a lifetime. Their beginning in local programs is important now more than ever. Like Rodgers and professional athletes throughout the world, it only takes that one person or moment to ignite a passion. But without the beginning, this passion will forever remain unknown.
Who knows, the next great athlete may be the small fan who has been by your side every game day since September.
-Rachel Tripp, gostrive team member