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IBFA celebrates commitment to youth football

Irving Boys Football Association (IBFA) players, parents and coaches gathered for a spaghetti dinner and awards celebration at the Senter East Building on Sunday, Feb. 22.

“We reward our players who have longevity with us,” said Kristopher Vinson, President of the IBFA. “When they reach a five-year mark with us, they have an option to receive a free jacket from the league. Some kids wait until their sixth year, or their last year, to get the [jacket]. We’re also recognizing our coaches that volunteer all of their time. They’re the people who make this thing work. We’re giving them appreciation placards.”

Senior IBFA player, 13-year-old Blake Burris, was recognized for participating in the IBFA program for eight years.

“Getting to hangout with all my friends and learning the game of football was a nice experience over the years,” Burris said. “It gives you something to do. It’s great to just have fun and to learn teamwork and life skills.”

Thirty-six year IBFA coach, Bob Haney, discussed the purpose of the IBFA.

“We keep our kids involved in sports,” Haney said. “We teach them to get high on sports instead of drugs, and we try to keep them out of gangs and mischief that they can get into by occupying their time in youth sports. That’s the whole purpose of the IBFA.

“It’s been a privilege for me to be able to coach all of these kids and to meet all of the different people I’ve met since I’ve been in this league. It’s been a great experience for me to work with the kids, and I’ve been blessed that the parents allow us to work with their kids,” Haney said.

Vinson shared a message to future parents and players of the IBFA league.

“The thing I tell my parents who are on my teams is that if you’re bringing your kids out here to create the next NFL superstar, that’s the wrong reason,” Vinson said. “I personally feel that football echoes life lessons better than any other sport. These boys learn that hard work pays off. These boys learn that everyone has a purpose. They get some rough housing out of the way in a controlled environment.

“The bottom line is that we’re not raising NFL players, but all of these boys will probably grow up and be leaders of their own families. We’re trying to make good, young men of them,” he said.