The Rocky Mountain Rams Football Club is set to wrap up another successful flag season, and remains a thriving program in spite of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dan Herrick, the head coach of the Rams, said running practices and drills this fall season has been a challenge due to COVID-19 directives, however, the club was able to get back into action as part of Phase 3 protocols mandated by the provincial government.
“We had to do some extra things,” Herrick said. “The field looks different, everything’s more spaced out, we had to get more gear, but the numbers have been great. I think there’s maybe less activities for kids and kids have been missing sport, so they’re excited to get on the field.”
Normally, the program would be into it’s tackle season, but the pandemic threw a wrench into those plans.
“There’s no tackle football now with all the restrictions,” said Herrick. “We kind of had to take a step back, but the kids have been really good and we’re just kind of remaining optimistic that we can keep building into the spring and hopefully things get better, things open up and we can continue the tackle program.”
Players involved with the Rams practiced twice a week at the Mount Baker Secondary School field over the fall season, eschewing tackles for flags in order to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.
Players in the program range from Grade 5-12 and are grouped up according to junior and senior age divisions. The coaches are able to set up appropriate drills running offensive and defensive patterns. Five volunteer coaches help run the program, along with Herrick, which include Rams alumni as well as the now-defunct MBSS high school program.
“A couple of our senior kids are helping out with the junior program, which is great to see,” Herrick added. “Something we want to continue to see building, our older kids passing down the things their learning. Honestly, sometimes the younger kids listen better, they’re role models for them, a few years older that they look up to so they listen to them. It’s a good balance.”
But it’s not all football all the time — the coaching staff recently invited Kelsey Beamish, a registered holistic nutritionist, to give a presentation on the importance of a healthy diet and exercise.
The Rocky Mountain Rams was resurrected in 2017 ago after the program was dormant for many years.
Herrick says building the program back up has been a fun challenge.
“Building a football culture, there was football here a few years ago,” he said. “When something goes away, it’s even harder getting it back than if you’re just starting it new. It’s been a challenge, but it’s good. I think there’s a lot of kids who don’t play hockey or they don’t play lacrosse, they don’t necessarily fit in with a sport and football is kind of a home they’ve found.”
Going forward, the program will continue to navigate the COVID-19 protocols, and his hoping to build towards another flag football season in the spring. The program also will continue to fundraise for more equipment and travel opportunities against other club teams when health restrictions are lifted.