Coach Tim Boles still isn’t quite sure how it all came down, but when he got a phone call asking if his sixth-graders wanted to play during the half of last night’s Chief’s preseason game, he didn’t hesitate.
“I didn’t have time to ask parents, I said put it down, we’ll do it,” Boles said. “It’s quite an honor for them.”
Boles coaches sixth graders in the SM East area playing in the Football and Cheerleading Club of Johnson County. The Chiefs wanted to host a scrimmage at half-time, and officials at SM East reached out to him.
On Thursday night, in front of tens of thousands, his boys played for eight minutes against a club from the Olathe Northwest area. Two teams from the Missouri side of the metro also got to play.
“It’s pretty cool for these little guys,” Boles said.
The coolness started with the trip to the game. The 20 kids on the team traveled “first-class and in style” to Arrowhead in a rented party bus with music, neon lights and food.
They got there in time to watch the players warm up for the matchup with the Green Bay Packers and then stood with the Chiefs during the singing of the National Anthem.
Boles has been coaching in the Johnson County league for three years. The program runs from third graders on up to the time the kids enter high school.
He said youngsters are taught to tackle properly in light of the increased awareness of the potential for concussion injuries.
And while the program isn’t formerly connected with the high school, SM East coaches do stop by practices occasionally.
“The kids learn how the East offense plays,” Boles said.
The season formally kicks off the weekend after Labor Day. There are eight regular season games and a playoff match.
Boles was an athlete himself and said coaching youngsters is rewarding.
“It’s a healthy outlet for kids,” he said.