In the Zone
Lawrence Township Football League Builds Character, Teaches Life Lessons For Local Youth
Photos Provided by Lawrence Township Football League
Nobody in their right mind would expect children to play football as skillfully as NFL players, but to many like Virgil Aldridge, a youth football game can be even more exciting than a professional one. To Aldridge, children learning lifelong lessons on the football field has more pull than the NFL. As the president of the Lawrence Township Football League, Aldridge appreciates the benefits youth football has on children and the overall community.
Lawrence Township Football League is a recreational youth league that serves as many children’s introduction to football. From late July to early October, players in LTFL play safe but demanding games of football against other teams in the league. Practices start as regular exercises and become more specialized until the kids compete in football games. Some of the best players and coaches go on to form All-Star teams. These teams compete against other Central Indiana leagues in competitions like Border Wars and Indy Crossroads. While the football players are all boys, girls can still learn team-building and get serious exercise through the LTFL’s cheerleading program.
The league does not only help with kids’ physical health, but it also teaches them lifelong skills
“If you show dedication and work very hard, you will improve,” Aldridge says. “Whether you go from a two to a six or from a five to a 10, you’re going to improve.”
Players might not win every game or even go on to play in high school, but each one will learn lessons about hard work and improvement that will last them the rest of their lives.
Aldridge credits LTFL’s success to the league’s wonderful legion of volunteers. From board members to concession workers, there are nearly 100 people working with the league. All of them, with the exception of the high school certified officials, are unpaid volunteers. Even coaches, who are tasked with taking care of 15 kids three times a week, are unpaid volunteers.
The character building and great staff have allowed Lawrence Township Football League to stay strong at a time where youth sports are on the decline, but the league also succeeds because of its ties to the community. The football programs of Lawrence North High School and Lawrence Central High School share resources and personnel with LTFL. These two high schools even feature an LTFL match, doing their much-anticipated annual football match against each other. In addition, many local organizations like the Glick Company and Community Health Services sponsor LTFL, leading to players often featuring the brand’s logos.
In the future, Aldridge wants to pursue even greater community involvement. The league hopes to both become more involved with local schools and encourage more community members to get involved. LTFL is constantly looking for volunteers to help with anything from coaching to concessions to social media. The hope is that through getting more people involved, Lawrence Township Football League can “engender sort of a community feel” among the township, as Aldridge puts it.
For more information visit hometeamsonline.com/teams/LTFL or email them at info@LTFL.org.