As parents, we’ve all walked up to a sports event for our 6 year old only to find the competitors look ready for college (like in this viral story). It raises questions about fair play and safety. And there is nothing more important to us than the safety of our Gridiron kids. Your kids.
So here's what we're doing about it. You've probably heard about our Seasonal Player Safety Membership. It's a first-of-its-kind initiative comprised of age/grade verification and supplemental player insurance. And it's required for all Gridiron athletes.
But why? What role does age/grade verification play in flag football? Turns out, a pretty big one:
Age verification helps ensure the safety of our Gridiron athletes on the field. We all love a good "underdog" story, but not when it comes to distinct age differences. Younger players are generally smaller and less physically-developed than their older counterparts. And playing against older, more physically-mature kids puts younger kids at greater risk of injury. By verifying the ages of players, coaches and league organizers can ensure that younger athletes are competing against kids of a similar age and size.
We all want our kids to get the "W", but not at any cost. Age verification helps promote fair, honest play by ensuring that players are competing at the appropriate level for their age and ability. Playing against kids who are significantly younger or less experienced creates an unfair advantage. And no one should want to win like that. By verifying ages, coaches and league organizers can ensure that players are competing on a level playing field.
Improved Player Development
Wins and losses don't define an athlete. It's how they play the game. Ok, that sounds like a movie line... but it's actually true. Age verification creates an environment where kids can challenge themselves and improve their football skills. You see, players who compete against opponents who are too advanced will struggle to keep up. And players who match up against kids who are too inexperienced will not be challenged. By verifying ages, players will be on teams and in leagues that are most suited to their level of experience and ability. And with that, the best possible environment to develop their skills and succeed.
Character counts. Age verification helps maintain the integrity of our leagues by ensuring all teams are playing by the same rules. If some teams "stack the deck" with older, more experienced athletes, it creates an unfair advantage. And makes wins or losses irrelevant. By verifying ages, coaches and league organizers can ensure all teams are playing by the same rules and on a level playing field. So when a team takes home the championship, they can do so with pride.
Here's how to get your kids age/grade-verified with us:
Already registered for spring? Just login to your local league account (where you registered). Click the pencil beside your kid's name, scroll down until you see the Report Card/Birth Certificate section and click the plus sign. Add a file, click "upload document" and save changes. Make sure it’s submitted and verified at least three weeks before the season starts or your kid will be ineligible to play.
Not yet registered? The registration form will prompt you to upload a birth certificate or report card, depending on your team, but you can also upload it later (see our step-by-step instructions above). Just make sure it’s submitted and verified at least three weeks before the season starts or your kid will be ineligible to play.