HOOKSETT — Hundreds of children and parents from around the state will descend on Donati Memorial Park today for the 11th annual Pee Wee Football Ricky McGregor Jamboree.
While many of the parents and coaches love the game of football, many believe the most important things their children learn from playing football are lessons about life.
"It's great to have the kids out there, I think it helps them both now and in the future," said Carl Taylor, who will have five sons playing today. "It teaches them teamwork and discipline, how to help each other and how to interact with different kids from all walks of life. And most importantly, it teaches them how to be a family."
Scott Shimer, the jamboree's football coordinator, said that one of the reasons he likes the event is because it pays respect to former gridder Ricky McGregor, the Deerfield boy who died in 2006 at age 13.
Shimer agreed with Junior Pee Wee division coach Rob Launier that the best part of being involved in the league is watching the children develop not only as football players, but also as people.
"I enjoy coaching the kids, it's great to see them develop from start to finish," Launier said.
"And you get to watch them become better people, you really get to see them grow," Shimer said.
Peter Casey, who coaches the Mighty Mites team, said, "I think this is a great thing. We get to teach the kids the fundamentals while ensuring that they have fun in order to ensure they want to keep playing."
The jamboree is a scrimmage during which no score is kept. Each team will play 20 snaps on both offense and defense for a total of 80 minutes.
Teams from Merrimack, the Seacoast, Amherst, Bedford, Concord are participating. The jamboree isn't just for the boys though, as many cheerleading teams will also be in attendance fine-tuning their routines.