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October 8, 2019

CALGARY MINOR FOOTBALL: DAVE DICKENSON

The Calgary Stampeders have long been involved in minor football in the city. From management, to staff, to players, everyone is doing their part to grow the game from the grassroots level.

We talked with the team’s head coach Dave Dickenson about his experiences with Calgary minor football and more!

What minor football programs are you a part of?

My son plays in the Wildcats here in Calgary, he’s in bantam. And I do my football camps, Dave’s Passing Academy. I work with kids aged 12-17 in the off-season, in January and February to enhance their knowledge and techniques. Those camps are just receivers, running backs, and quarterbacks so it’s more of a skill camp.

I certainly try to support minor football with fundraisers and show my face locally, and hopefully get the kids involved to become lifelong football fans.

What life skills do children build through minor football?

First off, you’ve got to have a schedule, so discipline. You also learn teamwork, overcoming adversity, and becoming mentally and physically tough. The other thing about it too is you have to be unselfish. Football is game that the ball may not touch your hands that often, but you just have to do your job and your part. I love it, I think football for me builds men and people in general.

What is your favourite memory from minor football?

Well, I do love watching my son. But back when I was younger, I didn’t start until I was in grade 7 and I played both ways: linebacker and quarterback. It was just a lot of fun for me growing up.

Watching the minor football with my son, Cooper, their team actually won provincials last year. Just to see the joy was great, they had a trophy and passed it around like Grey Cup. I was pretty happy for my son to be a part of that.

Why would you recommend playing minor football?

I think almost everyone could find something that their son would fit into and be good at because there are so many positions. Also, as a Canadian, I think there’s a good opportunity to move forward not only with college but even to the pros. The odds are in your favour because we have bigger rosters in football.

I just think the more you can experience with a team, the better. You’re with a group of 40 to 50 guys and you really get the diversity, you get to know people outside of your normal comfort zone – I think that’s big time.

How does minor football in Calgary prepare children for a future in the sport?

I mean if you look across the board, Calgary quarterbacks are basically the quarterbacks throughout the U Sports league. We had them all the way out in the Atlantic, we had them at Western. I do believe Calgary football is right up there with the tops anywhere in Canada. Universities are recruiting Calgary kids all the time, and the University of Calgary Dinos have consistently been one of the best.

It shows that Calgary minor football has good coaches, and they’re committed – it’s amazing the time and effort they put into it.

What would you say to someone who is worried about injuries in minor football?

I’ve watched rugby, lacrosse, hockey, and injuries certainly will and can happen across the board in minor and pro sports.

But overcoming something like an injury – as long as it isn’t too severe – can sometimes build character, resilience and work ethic. I know it’s a rough and tough sport, but as young men, they want to get into it, get into the mix and be in the trenches. I believe it’s a good release for boys maturing. It’s rough, no doubt; I’ve been hurt and I’ve seen my kid take a few shots as well. But we’re trying to make sure we’re keeping it as safe as possible and we have great people to help out if something does happen.