Parents were lined up across the sideline at East Hills Elementary School on Saturday, some in lawn chairs sipping coffee or walking near the line of scrimmage taking pictures. Every pass, run and big play was cheered.
They were watching the action in the Roslyn Flag Football League, a weekend league that allows Roslyn children to get a first taste of one of the country’s most popular sports.
Saturday was week two of the season after a one-year delay due to COVID-19.
Two hundred fifty boys, predominantly from Roslyn with some from Jericho, are split into four divisions based on grades two through nine. On Saturday mornings at East Hills Elementary School, the second- and third-grade divisions play as well as the fourth- and fifth-graders. On Sundays, the two older divisions for sixth grade to ninth play on the Roslyn High School turf from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m..
“It’s so good for them,” one parent on the sideline said to another. “They’re able to run, learn and practice.”
The Roslyn Flag Football League is a continuation of the league formerly known as the Jericho Youth Football League. Five years ago when one of the founders moved out of the area a few Roslyn residents, including Craig Faller, took it upon themselves to keep it going without missing a beat.
“The reason I do this is for the community,” Faller said on a phone call Friday. “There are a million different programs kids can take part in, but this one is focused on more of a community-based concept.”
Faller, who works in sales, said that being one of the league commissioners is almost like another full-time job. However, he said he enjoys being part of the experience as well as new milestones for the league. This season marks the first time all games will be held in Roslyn, a change from previous years of playing games at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.
Making the league, and football, more accessible is a goal, said Faller, who wants flag football to be the sport children pick up if they are not already involved in a multitude of leagues year round.
“We built this program to look out for the kid that doesn’t play travel basketball,” Faller said. “We are looking for the kid that this is the sport he plays, this is what he does. We do everything we can with the rules to tailor it for kids of every ability out there.”
Some of the coaches also take pride in letting children stay active and have fun on the weekends. Robert Massari, a first-time coach in the league who is involved in other Roslyn sports, said it is a great opportunity for children and parents to support each other.
“The league’s been so good,” Massari said, after his Chargers won their match against the Lions in the second/third-grade division. “The kids are able to get out and it’s always a great time.”
The flag football league will continue with weekend games through October until a one-day playoff format and super bowl for each division take place in mid-November, Faller said.
More information about the Roslyn Flag Football League can be found at https://roslynflagfootball.website.sportssignup.com/.