MARYVILLE, Mo. — On Thursday evenings throughout the fall, Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) member Dylan White and three other members are on the sideline coaching a fourth-grade flag football team at Donaldson Westside Park.
Before the flag football season started, a text was sent out informing parents that Northwest Flag Football was low on coaches and asked for volunteers. White, a Maryville High School graduate, said he received a text about the lack of coaches from a mother of one of the boys who signed up and volunteered to help.
“Some of our standards and values within our fraternity is community service and we want to do stuff around the community,” White said. “… I was raised in Maryville, so I know what community means to everybody around here and so it was nice to be able to give back to the community that gave to me for so long.”
White said he has never coached football before, though he and some of the other fraternity members volunteering have played it before, but giving back was something important to all the coaches.
“It was kind of something that I was excited to do,” Corbyn Spurgeon, an AGR member and another one of the coaches, said. “Especially as a kid, playing flag football and normal football, when older guys, like older high schoolers, would come help coach, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So, I figured I could give that back.”
Alpha Gamma Rho – Northwest Missouri State president Dylan White squats down to give instructions between plays during one of the fourth-grade flag football team games Oct. 6.
White said it was a learning experience for all of them. There was the first challenge of gaining the boys’ respect and getting them to settle down since the coaches were closer in age to the players compared to all the parent coaches. Once that challenge had passed, it was nothing but fun for everyone involved.
For the team’s first game of the season back in September, White said the rest of the AGR members gathered at Donaldson Westside Park for a pregame tailgate where they cooked food, helped set up the field and watched the team play.
“Just seeing the kids have fun every time something goes right, they’re all just so excited for each other,” Spurgeon said, “It really doesn’t matter who’s doing what, but if the team’s winning and they’re all having fun, that just puts a smile on my face.”
The joy coming off the players and AGR members is something the parents have noticed as well.
“The boys are having a great time,” Matthew Baker, whose son Ryan plays on the team, said. “The college student coaches are having a great time. It’s all around a great win-win experience.”