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By KEITH CHARTRAND
WILLISTON – It was the first men’s softball game of the season and Williston Youth Athletic Association board member and football coordinator Bobby Crooms is doing what he does best: multitasking.
He is answering questions from parents inquiring about the WYAA June youth football camp sign ups.
He is turning the lights on for the softball field.
He is manning the concession stand deep fryer and grill serving up French fries, hot dogs and hamburgers.
“I just wanted to give back to Williston,” said Crooms referring to why he is part of the WYAA. “It has been good to me and my family. I love it and I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.”
A very busy and successful spring season for the WYAA has come and gone. Toward the end of the season, elections were held for four WYAA positions. Carrie Murphy was named president, Christi Crocker vice president, Jason Langworthy treasurer and Erin Williams secretary.
“There were approximately 250 to 300 kids that participated in the spring,” said Murphy.
That included five softball teams, five tee-ball teams, a handful of baseball teams and seven soccer teams.
“A week ago we had an All-Star game for baseball,” said Murphy. “Two weeks ago we had our annual soccer tournament. Since the soccer teams travel to play, each year teams from High Springs, Alachua and Gainesville come to our tournament.”
Now that it is summer, the focus of the WYAA turns to the gridiron. According to Crooms, the youth football teams from Williston play in a tri-county league that includes teams from Cross City, Chiefland, Bell, Branford and Trenton. Having a four-day summer camp in June along with summer conditioning starting on July 7, rookies that have never played before are taught football basics.
“Some of the kids that sign up have never played football before,” said Crooms. “We don’t want to be 30 days away from playing our first game showing kids how to throw and catch the ball.”
WYAA board members Bobby Kavanaugh and Lavar Williams along with Bobby Hall will assist Crooms. From a football standpoint one goal of the WYAA is to provide Williston schools with skilled players.
“We want the coaches at the high school and the middle school to have players that have knowledge of the game,” said Crooms. “We want to have a farm league because we haven’t had that in a long time.”
The overall goal of the WYAA goes much deeper than teaching a 7-year old how to block, catch or pass.
“You have a group of people trying to teach kids sportsmanship, honesty and integrity,” said Murphy. “It is not just about the skills of a sport. There aren’t a whole lot of other outlets unless they wanted to drive to Gainesville or Ocala. We offer that for them so they can move up and (continue) to play sports.”
Sign-ups for the tri-county football season and the summer football camp as well as the cheerleading program continue June 3 and June 5 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. as well as June 7 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration takes place above the concession stand at WYAA fields on North Main Street.
There are three age divisions for youth football: 7 and 8 year olds, 9 and 10 year olds and 11 and 12 year olds. Cheer age group is 5 to 12 year olds.