The Pit gives youth football players a game to remember


Image from Ted Talk Sports

As a grade school football player, waking up on game days was one of the best feelings you could ask for, especially if your game was at the Pit. Instead of playing on the traditional grass field with painted lines, artificial field turf would be the surface that day.

The Pit provides a “big-time” feel to a grade school football game. Local grade school kids get to play on the same field that was played on the night before by high schoolers. In many cases, the night before, the kids got to experience that same high school game.

Playing in games at the Pit as a grade school player is an experience that kids will never forget, especially the younger kids. In addition to playoff games, Elder also hosts the Bandit Bowl, which is a series of games played by kindergartners through second graders.

Elder is not alone in hosting youth football games, though. High Schools across the city also host Greater Catholic Youth League (GCYL) games throughout the football season.

I and many others have played many grade school football games at the Pit, whether that be in the Bandit Bowl, the regular season, or GCYL playoff games. Sophomore Tommy Thamann played many games for the Visitation Vikings at the Pit, and continues to play in high school.

2015 St. Jude varsity football poses for a pic after a game at the Pit

I asked Thamann what his favorite grade school football memory is, and he replied, “Scoring a touchdown in first grade at the Pit.” Thamann says that scoring a touchdown at the Pit isn’t even comparable to scoring on a grade school field.

Elder has been partaking in these events for some time, and those who have worked this event in the past have made memories that they will never forget. For example, Mr. Mike Boeing, a science teacher at Elder, has volunteered as a P.A. announcer at the Bandit Bowl and GCYL playoff games for many years as well.

When I asked Boeing why he continues to volunteer to announce these games, he replied saying, “I do it because I want to make sure it is done well for the little kids. It needs to match the expectations of the Pit,” Mr. Boeing says he also does it out of pure enjoyment.

Boeing recalls some of his favorite moments behind the mic. “My favorite memory was calling my son’s fourth grade championship game in ’91 or ’92.” While this event is ranked as his favorite, Boeing says that he has seen some pretty great football over the years.

Grade school games become more than grade school games when they are at the Pit. Elder gives kids a one-of-a-kind opportunity to play not just in a high venue, but one of the top ten places in the country. For some kids, one game in grade school played at the Pit may be their only time playing there. For others, one game in grade school may be the beginning of something special at Elder in the future.