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Western Springs Poll: Should Youth Football Teams Keep Score?

For years, the football league in Western Springs has held a tradition of casual, score-free play. A new league starting practice this month does things differently. What's your take?

August in Western Springs and Lyons Township means something new and different this year: the first practices of the , which is bringing pre-high school Village football players something that they have never before had: scorekeeping.

To be perfectly clear, the board of the LFC say they have no interest in supplanting the Western Springs Junior Football Association, pointing out that moving the most competitive players into their program will allow second-stringers more playing time in the WSJFA. And it's hard to argue that, the more leagues, the better; the two can certainly coexist.

But it's an interesting question: should youth football keep score? It's such a tradition in Western Springs that they don't that the football field (, incidentally) doesn't even have a scoreboard of any sort. Meanwhile, baseball players of the same age are in hard-fought battles for .

Not keeping score is one of the ways in which the WSJFA ensures no resentment for its enjoyable-play policies, like mandating half-game time for all players and not having any tryouts. And as has been said, the boys tend to know about what the score is, anyway.

But having been an ardent (if thoroughly mediocre) Little Leaguer as a kid, I know there's a tremendous excitement to a bright shiny scoreboard, let alone to lighting it up with a run or a touchdown. And then again, I also well know the crushing, tear-jerking pain when the opponents number quadruples yours at the end of the day (at least for baseball; I never played football), or the harshness of being left on the bench because the game is too tight for my weak butt to be in there.

What do you think of keeping or not keeping score for players not yet in high school? Please vote below and tell us in the comments!

biffer August 07, 2012 at 12:06 AM
I wasn't aware that WS football league did not keep score. However, the coaches know....the kids know (maybe not the 7-8 year olds!)....and the parents know. Team scores are kept in the Little League and youth basketball and seems like most of the psyches seem to be in tact. Kids are a little more resilient than we give them credit for. If coaches can down play the score a little and focus on the team play, special individual performances and effort, why not keep score. As far as I know this particular league does not have post season playoffs, so in my opinion the league has watered down the competitive aspect of it pretty well. Why not ask the players if they want to keep score?
Paul August 07, 2012 at 02:50 PM
If they dont keep score, why do the coaches stack the teams?
Darren McRoy August 07, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Do they?
Dell August 07, 2012 at 11:08 PM
I think it's fine to keep score as long as the emphasis is on instilling good sportsmanship as well as an understanding and love (or like) of the game itself. I don't know how it works in WS football, but in WS baseball they have a draft which I suppose could lead to stacking teams by parent coaches. The unfortunate thing about WS baseball is that kids are told (I think by 3rd grade) that they either move up a level or don't. So basically instead of instilling a love of the game, you are telling these kids they are not good enough (at what, age 9??) to play with their peers (sometimes only a few kids are kept down). This seems more appropriate for a travel team, not a recreational league. I have no problem with All-Star teams--of course there are going to be better players. But for the basic teams, I think they should all play within their age group.
Darren McRoy August 07, 2012 at 11:12 PM
I didn't know about that. Where I grew up, 10s, 11s and 12 year olds all played together in one of two leagues, "minors" and "majors." Minors were open to all; majors required tryouts. Both were competitive, but majors got the better fields. I played 10s in minors and 11s and 12s in majors, winning the league championship as 11s... It was an amazing experience. Not sure how WSLL works for divisions, though, and never played football, but I would have had a lot of trouble playing with no score. I was competitive that way, if never good (or even average) enough to justify it.

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