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Youth football league gives families a little bit of sports to enjoy in a COVID world

With high school football on hold and cardboard cutouts the new norm at Broncos games, parents are grateful for youth football leagues.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — The warm days and cool nights mean fall and football, and there's nothing quite like hanging out in the parking lot tailgating before a big game.

Yeah baby, it’s football season…sort of.

High school football is on hold, there is no local college football and most people have to have their picture taken and placed on cardboard to make it in to watch the Broncos. 

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“Everything in life that’s changing and that’s going on and being able to pause for a moment and come out here and love your kid and who they’re going against, and come together as a community and be together makes it a great pause,” said Chareen, the mother of an 8-year-old.  

Chareen is one of dozens of families who line the field to watch their children play football in Jeffco Youth Football Association games.

“It’s like the next best thing …there is no sports truly to watch and this is a live sport activity that we get to enjoy with our kids," said Gina Palombo-Dinkel, another family member of a child who plays in the league. "Not only that, it’s live sports right now, and it’s awesome to be here and by the sideline."

Palombo-Dinkel was the only one representing her family because there are spectator limits for the games.

“My husband can’t be here today, but we take turns," Palombo-Dinkel said. "We do the best we can, and it still allows our children to play and be active. Kudos to the league to make that happen, working with the health department and making everything work. I know it takes a lot of effort."

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“I think the world needed football, and just to see the kids get out here and be able to play,” said Lemar Griffin. Griffin usually photographs the Denver Broncos, but spent this day taking photos for the families here.  

“But it’s also different because, after the game, the kids couldn’t shake hands — they had to touch each other on the shoulder pad,” Griffin said.

The game, the atmosphere,  they’re still the same. Parents are screaming, whistles are blowing and the kids are playing football. 

“They need to be active, they need to be out," Palombo-Dinkel said. "We need to be safe, but we need to make sure that they can continue with some normalcy in their lives." 

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