Submitted by Gary Miller
McManus Middle School in Linden has been awarded a grant from the NFL Play 60 organization to bring the action and activity of flag football to physical education class.
“The kids are going to love it,” said physical education teacher Patrick Migliore. “They’ve been asking every year, ‘Can we play flag football? Can we play flag football?’ It’s a real big deal for them.”
McManus got 50 flags, 10 footballs, four kicking tees, and a curriculum book. The flags are worn around the waists of players, and a player is considered “tackled” when another player pulls off his or her flag.
“It’s important that activities be engaging for the students so that they are excited about going to physical education class and staying active,” said Superintendent Danny A. Robertozzi. “This program is perfect for that. Thanks to NFL Play 60 for selecting McManus, and to Mr. Migliore for finding a creative way to expand his students’ phys ed opportunities.”
Migliore explained to his students that the school has to put a priority on buying equipment that can be used year-round, unlike flag football equipment, which they will use for only part of the year.
“Flag football is very expensive,” he said. “The flags are $150 to $200 a set, which comes with 10 flags and a ball. So we got $600 to $700 worth of equipment.”
Migliore said he applied for the grant at the end of the last school year, and learned in November that McManus was awarded the grant.
“It was during the half days at the end of the school year,” he said. “We were all cleaned up around here, so rather than not doing anything, I started typing to apply to the NFL Play 60.”
Classes will begin using the equipment in the spring, once they start going outside again.
“When I showed them we got flags, they were dancing around and they were happy,” Migliore said. “They were saying, ‘I can’t wait for the spring when we can go out and play!’ So they’re going to love it.
“I can’t wait, because I play steady quarterback sometimes! I can still throw it a little bit,” he said with a laugh.
NFL Play 60 is a national youth health and fitness campaign focused on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Over the past decade, the NFL has partnered with leading organizations to help children of all abilities lead healthier, active lives.
“It’s a big benefit because there’s a lot of running in flag football,” Migliore said. “We need stuff like that.”