When Chris Sniesak and Nick Kuroski started planning a flag football league in Memphis, they had no idea it would turn into this.
Originally, they thought maybe a few dozen kids would sign up for the inaugural five week league. Then they had around 70 young athletes signed up. And finally, thanks to word of mouth, more than 30 kids showed up on opening day to push the league to more than 100 footballers.
And if it wasn’t for Sniesak’s 8-year-old daughter, Claire, maybe this never would have happened.
“She’s the one that pretty much prompted me to do it,” Sniesak said. “She loves sports and pretty much into everything.”
Claire wanted to play in Romeo’s flag football league, but her dad quickly realized there was enough kids in Memphis to give it a shot. He just didn’t expect more than 100 kids to be playing on the Memphis High School’s field every Saturday.
“I was hoping for maybe two teams in each division,” Sniesak said. “To get over 100 kids is incredible.”
Instead, there are four teams in each league – kindergarten-second grade, third-fourth grade and fifth-sixth grade. As a parent, it’s hard to beat it too since the half hour practices take place right before the 40 minute-long games. No need to scramble to practice in the middle of a week.
In return the parents have helped make this league as successful as it has been.
“The best thing about it how many parents come out and want to coach,” Kuroski said. “Parent involvement is great for us right now, there are so many that come out and help.”
Kuroski’s with, Lindsay, and Sniesak’s wife, Brooke, have also been all-stars to the league this fall. Then again, they have a lifetime of working together as they’re sisters.
“They do all the stuff we are terrible at, like the scheduling, the paperwork and all stuff like that,” Sniesak said. “Our wives are a big help, and we have other great mothers of kids doing stuff like running the concession stand.”
The league’s final week is coming up on Saturday, and they’ll end with a bang with games under the lights starting at 6 p.m. The top two teams from each league will face each other for first place while the other two teams will duke it out for third place.
“You can just see the excitement in the kids’ faces,” Kuroski said. “They were acting a little crazier than normal and you can tell it’s because it was under the lights.”
When the lights are turned off on Saturday, the first flag football season will officially be over. That doesn’t mean the young athletes and their parents take a break either as basketball season is just around the corner.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be a bittersweet ending for everyone involved in the league’s successful first year.
“When Monday starts, I can’t wait for the football league on Saturday,” Sniesak said. “It’s gone so much better than I expected. You look forward to doing this stuff with your kids.”