Flag football has quickly become one of the fastest growing sports in Canada. Recognizing that, the CFL and NFL teamed up to host a tournament to specifically engage youth players in cities across the nation.
Here in Ottawa, the students at Dr. F. J. McDonald Catholic School assembled their own team to compete in the Ottawa regional tournament. The players (aged 10-11) fundraised their registration fees, but were missing one thing…. a coach. REDBLACKS community events manager Mark Sluban heard about this and reached out to a few players and one answered the call.
Danny Collins jumped at the opportunity to become DFJ’s coach. The young CFL QB joined the kids for two practices leading up to it, working on offensive plays and inspiring them to work hard not only on the field, but in the classroom as well.
The big day had finally arrived and after a red-eye flight back from the REDBLACKS road game in Edmonton, Coach Collins was excited to get started. The team had a ton of fun, maybe more than Danny, and everyone learned more about the game they love and valuable life lessons.
Opportunities like these are extremely important to Danny.
“Growing up, I always looked up to athletes, trying to talk to and learn from them was my life,” explains Coach Collins, “Being able to give that back to the youth today means the most to me.”
After the game, Coach Collins to his squad out for milkshakes and fries to celebrate an awesome day of football and fun.
Maurizio Pasqua, Grade 5 Teacher at Dr. F.J. McDonald School, was overwhelmed by Danny’s involvement and the REDBLACKS support after the experience.
“What an amazing day today at TD Place! Danny Collins showed his passion for the game and left an impact on these children. They had so much fun and are grateful for you and the entire REDBLACKS organization.”
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