Putting a new spin on an old game: PV students create all-inclusive football team

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Sid Sharma

Pleasant Valley’s IFL comes together to participate in their weekly Saturday night game.

Sakshi Lawande, Copy Editor

Traditionally football is a sport for the strongest and toughest guys. But one group of PV students is striving to challenge these norms through the creation of a new league of football open to anyone, regardless of ability.

Pleasant Valley High School is notorious for the wide range of opportunities it brings to its students, whether it’s through sports, music or organized programs. However, students in the district are starting to bring their own ideas into play; from these ideas the Indian Football League (IFL) was born. 

IFL began as a small group of Indian boys playing two-hand touch football in junior high. They got together at Crow Creek Park almost once a week, with no intention of it becoming something so widespread. 

Initially, the members did not give the league a name, as it was just a weekly meetup. The finalized name, IFL, merely serves as a meme to represent their culture and is now ordinarily spoken in the halls of Pleasant Valley. 

Sid Sharma, one of the earliest IFL members, along with his teammates decided to spread the word about the new league. They messaged their friends, asking them to join the weekly action. As the word spread, the connections grew, resulting in an influx of people attending. “Spreading the word was more for the entertainment, so people can have something to look forward to on the weekends,” said Sharma. 

The students participate on the Spartan field every Saturday night at 5:00. With a wide range of abilities and skills, the group always ensures the game is played fairly. In ensuring so, the team has two captains. These captains set the rules according to how many people attend. From there, they play the two-hand touch recreational sport. 

Recently, there were more than 50 students playing the sport; in fact, some varsity football players joined in on the activity. As a result of the football team attending, the teams were created in advance based on skill level and position. 

Undoubtedly, the school is aware of the league and many are beginning to take part in the activity. “I love hearing the excitement from my classmates when they say they can’t wait to go to IFL this weekend,” Sharma said. 

The league’s motive is not only to have fun but to form new friendships. Evin Ersan, a well-known figure in the school, had recently shared his experience with IFL on his Instagram. He is grateful to have attended as he feels more connected with his friends outside of the classroom. “IFL provides fun competition involving teamwork and communication skills, allowing students to form new relationships with their fellow peers while having fun,” Ersan stated.

However, as temperatures drop during the fall season, the league is slowly losing its members. This won’t stop the students, though. They have new ideas in mind, such as the IBA—Indian Basketball Association—during the winter season.

Pleasant Valley students greatly value diversity and cultural connections within school and extracurricular activities. The founders of this rising sport are looking forward to an enjoyable future, keeping the key principles of teamwork and friendly competition in mind.