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Full Transcript: Return to Play Webinar - Part 2 - Guidelines

August 21, 2020

jennifer kovats

 

Full Transcript

Jeanne Hopkins:

Okay, welcome everyone to today's second of a soon to be four part series of a Return to Play, with two industry experts. We have with us today Mark Botterill, who is the VP of Strategy for Augusta Sportswear Brands, and Gary Goldberg, who is the CEO and founder of Squad Locker. We had a wonderful conversation last month about the whole pandemic and the Return to Play and those types of issues, and the things that we're mostly concerned about as members of this particular industry.

Jeanne Hopkins:

We've had hundreds of people sign up for these particular webinars and the things we're trying to talk about. A couple of housekeeping discussions right now. We are recording this webinar. Please feel free to ask questions in the Q&A panel on your GoTo Webinar platform. We are continuing the series with the help of the Return to Play Coalition, of which Squad Locker and Augusta Brands, and particularly Mark is very, very involved. He's really helped me and Squad Locker point in the right direction on this Return to Play initiative.

Jeanne Hopkins:

And just as a reminder, this particular webinar is a discussion. We're talking about things based on our knowledge, it's not just supposed to represent any legal and/or medical advice. We're giving you the information that we know as of today, so just keep that in mind. Feel free to ask questions, we're very open to answering as many questions as possible.

Jeanne Hopkins:

So again, we're going to talk a little bit about guidelines, and during our rehearsal session yesterday Gary suggested that we should do a fourth one, and talk to maybe some mental health professionals that are really concerned about people not playing sports. Right before we got on this particular call, Mark had some insight about what are we going to do to get kids to be healthy. Mark and Gary both talked about this, that there's a statistic out there that of the Fortune 500 CEO's, about 95% of them played sports. Played some sort of sports in college, which is very interesting. Not everybody's going to be able to play sports in college, you're not going to have enough time or effort or whatever to be able to do it, but it's an interesting statistic.

Jeanne Hopkins:

And then we wanted to expand that. So Mark, why don't you talk a little bit about what you were talking about, what were you calling those Go Noodles? What was it about?

Mark Botterill:

Yeah, that was just something we were talking pre-call at some of the innovation around children's physical activity, and some of your listeners might want to go on the GoNoodle.com is an app that's now being used in schools that is proving to be highly helpful in terms of kids' physical in school, but outside of a physical education class. But again, stressing I think this need to be physically active, to help physical and mental health. So GoNoodle.com, around about 5,000 plus schools if not more.

Mark Botterill:

I think what's kind of interesting is globally, 1.5 billion children are out of school at the moment. 99% of those two through 18 are under some kind of restriction. So what it's causing is a massive amount of anxiety, stress and perhaps importantly, isolation. One of the things I was struck by was UNICEF developed a book to support children called My Hero Is You to address some of those stress and anxieties. If you have a chance to read that book, it might help at home. I did read it myself last week.

Mark Botterill:

But it's really underscoring the physical and mental health needs through activity and connectivity that sports bring. So to your point Jeanne, and your question, and to you Gary, I think these are becoming increasingly difficult times for children, and it's tough to count the costs, and sports is a solution to this challenge.

Gary Goldberg:

If you look at the slide that Jeanne put up, it's very telling. Nine reasons why you should hire athletes. Whether you hire these people or not, the process of learning and transitioning between child and adult, we all know how complex that is. But if you look at the inherent nature and characteristics of high performing athletes, or even just people involved in sports, driven to achieve goals, they develop determination because they face obstacles, they become agile leaders because they're put in situations where they need to be. They understand strategy, teamwork, sacrifice. It means choosing not to do something in order to prepare or practice. Never give up attitude. Performance under pressure, motivation and commitment.

Gary Goldberg:

Those are great characteristics, and those are characteristics that will help you no matter what your challenges are in life. It's so clear that when we think about education and kids who aren't in school right now, not only are they missing the math and the English and the reading and the writing, which is more valuable as well, but they're also missing the additional soft component which help these nine factors. We've got to get kids back to school, we've got to do it safely.

Jeanne Hopkins:

Right.

Mark Botterill:

We touched on this last time Jeanne, and Gary I think for your listeners that are involved in youth sports operations, the narrative of why sports is critical to participate in is dramatically changing, or should be changing. We talked very little a couple weeks ago about the dream that sold, whether it's playing for the Yankees or getting a college scholarship. Albeit noble causes and worthy ceilings to try and reach for, if you're running sports today, this is a value proposition that you're going to have to fight. And you could be fighting X-Box, you could be fighting the mall, you could be fighting all kinds of different opposition to youth sports participation.

Mark Botterill:

We know that participation, in some cases, in soccer it can be down as much as 7575, 80%, and most soccer agencies don't have a sales force to go back and call people, to have them come back and play. So the narrative I think has to change that really radiates with the parent. The parent in this case is going to be a really important part of the proposition.

Mark Botterill:

That slide that we put together shows I think an incredibly important pathway of why sports plays a massive role in leadership, but also the physical and mental well-being of children can be resolved in part, if not more in part, through sport activity.

Mark Botterill:

There's a book, if anybody wants to try looking at, the Cognitive Value of Playing Sport, Especially At An Early Age, by a gentleman called Tom Byer, who is a specialist in developing soccer globally in the younger player silo. He has a forward by John J. Ratey, who's an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University, who clearly spells out the cognitive relationship between playing sports and the brain development. Okay, a little bit technical, but the idea being is that to bring people back to sports, you're going to have to-

Gary Goldberg:

Hold on a second Mark, I've got to wake myself back up, but go ahead.

Mark Botterill:

... The point being I think, and maybe I'm over-playing that point, but the point being is that I think we're obliged here to change the narrative about why sports-

Gary Goldberg:

Absolutely.

Mark Botterill:

... should be participated in.

Jeanne Hopkins:

And you've always talked about that. We have a number of things to discuss in today's call. I wrote down the book name, I think that's pretty exciting. I wonder if we could get the author to do one of our webinars with us. But I wanted to move on to this next point, and Gary brought this up yesterday, because we recently saw a study that came out that said gaiters, or bandanas are not as good as masks, and what do you need to believe in. Gary, you have a number of patents on textiles, you understand the science behind it, and there's a ton of media coverage. This Save the Gaiters just came out yesterday, talking about gaiters, and you could show us your gaiter right now.

Gary Goldberg:

Yep. I wear one every day, I find them very easy to put on and take off when I'm not properly socially distanced, just something that's convenient and I wear it around my neck. And in fact my wife, who I love dearly, said, "I think that actually looks good on you Gary, you should consider making that part of your wardrobe." Ripper. So I like the gaiter-

Jeanne Hopkins:

She must like the colors or something. Why don't you talk a little bit about this, because the media has scared people, and what are we trying to do here? We want people to be safe, and different styles mean different things, and we're hearing a lot about lanyards for masks, particularly for children in school because just like any kind of uniform, or sweatshirt, or backpack or lunchbox, kids lose things all the time. So what can we do, what should we believe and how should we go about making sure that we understand the risks and the rewards of what we need to do?

Gary Goldberg:

Yeah, I think it's a great question, and I did want to touch on it because I want to de-mystify some of the hype and opacity around the subject. Just to think about it broadly, one unfortunately face coverings have become a political issue, and they really shouldn't be. I think, in my personal opinion, covering your face is a way for you to share with your immediate social community, I care about you, and because I care about you, I'm just going to do the right thing which is to take a small precaution, a small inconvenience.

Gary Goldberg:

So for me, I don't find it political, I find it a symbol of caring, quite frankly. It's part of our social contract that we should all be participating in because you just don't know, someone around you could be immune compromised, or have some pre-existing condition that you could unfortunately, through no fault of your own, hurt them. Wearing a face covering right now is an indication that you care about people.

Gary Goldberg:

Simply said, this idea of the shape of the covering, whether it be mask or gaiter, is not the right thing to be thinking about. The study said that some gaiters have a more porous fabric. Well that may be true, but at Squad Locker I think we're shipping a couple thousand individually decorated gaiters and face masks to all different people around the country on a daily basis. Some of the face masks are made out of the exact same materials as the gaiters, there's no difference. Single ply, stretch polyester. So the idea that a gaiter, because of its shape, is or isn't more effective than a face mask is to me just unscientific and silly.

Gary Goldberg:

I have a patent in a filtration fabric that I designed early on to help my son protect his lungs from dust mite weights for nighttime allergies. There is this idea of the physical concept, it's called tortuosity, and that is the idea that there isn't a straight path between the front of the fabric and the back of the fabric, in the form of a pore. So the idea of layering fabrics is very effective. I would just as a scientist say two layers is better than one, one layer is better than none. That's how I would approach this whole mask, gaiter, bandana concept.

Gary Goldberg:

But to say that the shape is or is not effective is actually, time out, wrong subject matter. I probably could find a mask that probably has a very porous fabric that's single layer, that if we really wanted to do some filtration tests, we would find is less effective in blocking something than a gaiter of a different fabric. So I think it's really about layers and fabric weight, and again I think it's do no harm here. Put something on your face. That's the first and most important step.

Jeanne Hopkins:

Cover your face.

Gary Goldberg:

Cover your face Jeanne.

Jeanne Hopkins:

All right, let's get back to the athlete, and talk about the athlete. Mark, you mentioned this about the participation in any kind of sport, it doesn't have to be a professional sport, college level, but just doing something has these known health benefits. But more importantly, there's a lot of uncertainty. This is one of the things that you've been talking about with the Return to Play Initiative. How do we get people to feel more comfortable about the concept of returning to play at this point Mark?

Mark Botterill:

Yeah, good question-

Jeanne Hopkins:

That was a heavy sigh.

Mark Botterill:

... I just want to go back to Gary's-

Jeanne Hopkins:

That was a big sigh, man.

Mark Botterill:

... No, no. Actually I'm moving Gary's-

Gary Goldberg:

My textile lecture put him to sleep.

Mark Botterill:

... There were words there that from a scrabble board perspective were in the thousand point marks.

Gary Goldberg:

Tortuosity. It's a real word, you can look it up, I promise you.

Mark Botterill:

It's harmony to my ears Gary, it really is. The question, I think there's a couple of answers to that. I think that the Return to Play process today is, for sports, certainly in jeopardy in some areas, and most of the people on the call know where they're at today. I find it interesting that college football is dictating some of this weather vane kind of approach as to whether it's the right thing or not the right thing to do, and interesting that the lawsuit today of the Big Ten potentially could overturn that. Collegiate players who sign waivers to hold the NCAA indemnible from concussion, why couldn't you do the same things from a COVID perspective? I think there's a big battle on that.

Mark Botterill:

But with that said, I think the parent that's sitting there, should I sign my eight year old up to play youth soccer in Nevada, is looking at the news and not getting great signs. So it's incumbent I think today on the youth organizations to continue to drive the protocols and procedures that I think the Play Coalition has actually put together. It has had tremendous success in building trust with this document, that can either be shared with the parent. These are the protocols and procedures that we're going to undertake, and in many cases those have been hugely successful.

Mark Botterill:

I would point to volleyball as being a huge success in the discipline that they've focused on creating a safe and hygienic environment through the procedures that they put together. Indiana Volleyball Academy is a great example there, if anyone wants any help with being introduced to what they've done. Their numbers are actually up year over year in most of their programs. Partly from tapping into the demand, but also the fact that they've provided a tremendously safe and very disciplined hygienic environment to participate.

Mark Botterill:

So I think the demand is clearly there, it's pent up, it's just a question of designing and earning the trust of the parents that you've done everything humanly possible to make that environment safe. I think one of the things I would also advise your listeners to think about in this phase is also the role that if you go on an organization could SHAPE America, which is again is the P.E. national governing body, working in conjunction with the physical activity coordinator in schools can pay huge dividends for your sports organizations. Those schools that are in session of course. And being able to help shape the P.E. classes to try and encompass your sport specificity if you will, and help inspire children in behind those sports.

Mark Botterill:

I think there's going to be a big play in trying to organize around the physical activity educators in schools to help develop that relationship between what can the schools inspire, and how can you then harvest that inspiration. If you look at the USTA today, probably one of the most advanced participation programs of all sports, they have a very strong relationship with SHAPE America, they provide grants to schools, in which if they promote school students to participate in their local programs, they provide grant programs to continue to build apparatus and equipment into the schools.

Mark Botterill:

In tennis' case they ship in chalk to map out a field on blacktop, and provide barrier tape and some basic, fundamental rackets and tennis balls that really help that. That's proving to be a very simple and very cost effective way to penetrate schools to inspire demand for your sport. So I think again working closely with physical activity teachers in schools to help you connect the dots with your local organization and your student population, super important.

Mark Botterill:

And then I'll just finish by saying this, and Gary I think we've got right now 17 states are fully operational in terms of a go forward plan to participate, with the Ohio governor yesterday, or two days ago allowing youth sports to continue. So I think you may see another three to four, but certainly going to see some states that are pushing back against youth sports participation at the moment. But I think it's starting to win over, this physical and health narrative. Kudos to the Ohio governor for helping out today, or yesterday on this.

Gary Goldberg:

He's been a big proponent of that.

Mark Botterill:

Yeah.

Gary Goldberg:

Hearing anecdotally Mark, from some of the people that we work with here at Squad Locker who set up young kids in sports, that they're being told, "Drop your kid off and get out of here, parent. You're not welcome at practice, or at the games, but we're going to take good care of your kids and we're going to keep them safe." I think that's actually an interesting dynamic for a bunch of reasons. One, it is a good way to keep people who are in an age group that are more susceptible from densifying around as an audience.

Gary Goldberg:

The probably other interesting thing that may come of this is the relationship between the child and the parent and the coach, really complex dynamic.

Mark Botterill:

For sure.

Gary Goldberg:

Bringing up my three kids, I can't tell you how many times I saw parent trying to be a coach on the sideline. It is so damaging for both the coach and the player, because there's a sense you need to listen to your parent, there's this desire and instinct to listen to the coach, want to do right by whatever he or she is trying to execute on the field at the time. That's a really tough spot to put a kid in. So I think there may be this other silver lining that may happen where these kids actually get some independence in some of these situations.

Mark Botterill:

Yeah, you raise a good point. I think again, when the narrative changes from this, "I'm investing in you in sports to get a college scholarship or to play for the Yankees," okay I'm not suggesting that's universal-

Gary Goldberg:

By the way, this Yankees thing has got to stop.

Mark Botterill:

Yeah, Boston.

Gary Goldberg:

Yeah, Boston Red Sox.

Mark Botterill:

Red Sox, yeah.

Gary Goldberg:

Please.

Mark Botterill:

I get that. I think once that's out of the narrative, it'll help that relationship. I find it super interesting in years gone by, there was some tremendous data produced for U.S. Soccer around the women's soccer program in which they, I'll get the numbers wrong here because I haven't written them down, but I'll just suggestion this. The suggestion in women's youth soccer was that because the national team was so successful, they wanted to figure out what the development pathway was. And certainly what I'm going to describe is not the only success pathway, but the statistics said that of every woman that played in the U.S. Women's National team, 78% of them had a sibling. 78% of those had a sibling. And 69% of those siblings were older, and the average age difference was 3.1 years between the oldest sibling and the player that played on the national team.

Mark Botterill:

The further research basically said that the development of playing against older players in pick-up play and house play and schoolyard play was a significant advantage to allowing the child, or in this case the women's national team player, to be able to develop skills not un-coached, I'm not suggesting that in any way, shape or form. But it allowed to be able to rough and tumble, and get out and play, and scrape the knee and be challenged. And that parent allowing that to happen in and around school, in and around the school hard, in and around their back yard, is a very, very successful development process. And allowing that development to happen and intermingle players and not pigeon hole into certain age groups and give it too much structure.

Gary Goldberg:

What an interesting insight Mark. That was exactly what happened in my family. We have three kids, boy, boy, girl. Oldest boy was in the eighth grade, they needed a goalie for their lacrosse team. They commandeered my, at the time my fifth grade, sixth grade boy, "Hey, go have mom get you a goalie stick, we're going to make you a goalie," because they didn't have a goalie. Well would you know that that stretched that fifth grader, he aspired to be with the older kids, he tried twice as hard because there's so much at risk for him. He definitely scraped his bottom lip for fear of being like I couldn't do it, and he became an all state goalie, and now plays in college. And had it not been for his older sibling saying, "Tell Mom to go get you a stick, we need a goalie," and that gap, it would have never happened.

Mark Botterill:

Yep. So you lived that process. And again, I think most of your listeners who run sports programs like I have in the past, are so scared out of their wits in involving parents. Certain parents have just not been in check with the way that they've dealt with their kids, and in many cases I think we've all felt that they've been detrimental. But I don't think that's the case moving forward. I think if you look at some of the global players, I go back to soccer where I'm familiar with it, you look at some of the key, leading players today, there's been a tremendous involvement from the parent's participation. Either just being there shoulder to shoulder, being there to allow them to participate in the back yard or in the basement, but being there, romantically connected.

Mark Botterill:

Across the way you look at Christian Pulisic today, probably one of the top three players in the world, his father played a massive role in that. You look at Lionel Messi, probably the best player in the world, again father played a massive role in the development. So parents can be hugely influential, and they're going to need to be a great advocate moving forward, because of the challenges and barriers of participating in sports. We need those parents, we need those parents to be a positive influence.

Gary Goldberg:

We certainly do.

Jeanne Hopkins:

You guys are awesome, being able to talk about some of these things, and so the slides that I built were all for naught. So I'll just cover a little bit of these things that we talked a little bit about, some of the high risk sports, which we would imagine that are going to be right next to each other, we're not going to be able to have social distancing. Some of the moderate risk sports that we see here, and then more of the low risk sports. I think one of the things, I was a cheerleader in high school, so sideline cheer that would be me, but my mouth was so big that I probably blasted the bleachers, so I'd have to wear a mask.

Jeanne Hopkins:

Why don't we talk a little bit about this. I know Mark, before when we talk about the COVID and getting people back into it, there's a lot of people that are very concerned about it. But when we talk about the individual sports, there's a lot of things that we're seeing right now, both you and Gary are seeing that there's sports, there's entire seasons that are flip-flopping. You have mentioned it a number of times in terms of there's going to be people that are doubling, tripling up on their sports. There's going to be an open sports season. Why don't you talk about that a little bit more, and maybe address it for some of our people that are on the call today to be able to talk about what are some of the challenges, but also some of the solutions that you're seeing schools and sports organizations do right now.

Mark Botterill:

That's a tough question, and I'll kick it to Gary here.

Jeanne Hopkins:

Sorry about that.

Mark Botterill:

I think one of the things... solutions, let's talk about solutions for your listeners that are listening in. One of the things I'm seeing change very dramatically, and I think it's a good thing, is people are getting away from traditional season. Soccer runs in the fall, it runs in the spring. I'm seeing people pivot towards subscription. So it's a 12 months subscription to participate, we're going to run programming year round. We're not going to emphasize that you should play soccer all your life, we want to make sure that you get into other sports, but if you want to stay with soccer tuition and soccer games, if they're light hardy games they don't have to be a gaming circuit, let's go to a subscription model. Is it $50 a month, is it $30 a month, and here I'm talking about more of a recreational participation level. Clearly the elite players have something similar to that at the moment. But I think you're finding people addressing some of the concerns around accessibility and continuation of the programs. There's nothing worse than their season ending for a kid, and then having to wait three months for it to start again. It's not actually logical today, I don't think.

Mark Botterill:

Now, that isn't to say they can't go off and play a different sport and that they have to participate, and certainly you can cut your prescription, but I'm seeing programs that just build in a subscription model so that if people want to maintain physical activity through soccer, that would be perfectly fine.

Mark Botterill:

I think you're also seeing, and Gary and I have talked about this at length, that a lot of organizations that are sport-specific are now becoming multi-sport organizations. Those of you in Virginia, you'll probably know that because they've been the lead state behind it. But there-

Gary Goldberg:

Yeah-

Mark Botterill:

... Go ahead, sorry Gary.

Gary Goldberg:

Are you saying they're changing the demand of the specific uniforms of Augusta and the other brands that support, whether it's Pacific Headwear, or High Five, or whatever? We're seeing total upside down demands for more... the garments that can be used for more than one thing.

Mark Botterill:

For sure. 100%.

Gary Goldberg:

So whether it's a reversible pinny, or it's just this moisture management two color top that hey, that can be a soccer jersey, that can be a baseball jersey, that can be a volleyball jersey.

Mark Botterill:

For sure.

Gary Goldberg:

We're seeing everything kind of blend right now. The other thing we're seeing too is we thought we were on hold, we're not on hold. We need it.

Jeanne Hopkins:

Right.

Mark Botterill:

I think-

Jeanne Hopkins:

We're ready to go.

Mark Botterill:

I think that one of the things I think that obviously serves your purpose, and I don't mean to bring up things that serve our purpose, but I think you're going to find universal uniforms are going to be critical. And sublimation in one ply reversible is a tremendous innovation. Not talking about the old reversible that has two pieces of fabric that are sewn together and has press to sew on your back, et cetera, et cetera. But I think the one ply reversible that can be multi-use and used for two years, and year round, and can provide a sub-community passion connectivity. It doesn't have to be a brand, it can be a palm tree if you're in Palm Springs, it can bring in the local community flavor.

Mark Botterill:

But I 100% agree with you Gary, I think some of the innovations are... I don't think you're going to be distributing uniforms in bulk. I don't think volunteers are going to be taking the uniforms and sticking them in their garage and hoping to hand them out hand to hand.

Gary Goldberg:

Yep.

Jeanne Hopkins:

Yep.

Mark Botterill:

I don't see that in the future whatsoever.

Gary Goldberg:

There's a huge demand for our directive layer solution where-

Mark Botterill:

Right. And I think you've been an innovator in that process, and we applaud you for that. I think you're going to be seeing uniforms that are going to be multi-purpose and multi-usage. I think you're going to find the reversible coming back en vogue, because it's one less garment people have to look for. But now with the implication, the innovation of a one ply piece that's lightweight and doesn't have exterior printing on it, potentially could be hugely successful.

Gary Goldberg:

Totally agree with that.

Mark Botterill:

So I think there are a number of innovations, and I think the starter kits you actually put together from multiple brands is super important, because these seasons I think can be truncated. I know a lot of the soccer guys that I know are going to try and play three seasons in '21 if they can. So again, getting back to universal programs. We're seeing sports like lacrosse, and certainly youth football like Pop Warner probably now going to be playing January, and may play two seasons, potentially three seasons if they play in the summer as well.

Mark Botterill:

So that access of youth sports has really changed, and I think it's in some cases good.

Gary Goldberg:

Agreed.

Mark Botterill:

It's innovation.

Gary Goldberg:

I agree with that.

Mark Botterill:

One thing I want to touch on with you Gary.

Gary Goldberg:

Yes sir.

Mark Botterill:

Jeanne, if it's okay to be resident. One of the things that we put a lot of work in, and I hope I can catch everybody's attention, are things that can help children and families pay for their uniforms and their registration fee. There's a couple of companies we've been working with, if you want at some point in time those that are listening, to look at companies like Tap and Pay, and Flip and Give, and Rally.org. These are folks that are super busy at the moment, but they're finding ways to try and under-write children's participation in youth sports through various different programs of support in your buying trends.

Mark Botterill:

We want to take a look at some of those, and if there's some residence to that I'm sure I can give Gary, and Gary knows some of these people anyway, some ability. There's a company called League Side that is doing tremendous amount of work in finding local sponsors in organizations to under-write children's participation also. Good folks there that I know Gary has a relationship with, is building a relationship with.

Gary Goldberg:

Excellent feedback.

Mark Botterill:

We can be helpful in finding capitalization to offset costs, and help children through investment like that, then those are some of the companies that we have a business interest in obviously, but people that we know, that we've worked with that have done really good things for the community. I would advise that they could be helpful.

Gary Goldberg:

Excellent, Mark.

Jeanne Hopkins:

Good. Okay, we have one question right now. If anybody else has questions for Gary or Mark, I want to honor everyone's time. We're slightly over the 30 minute mark. Adam had a question, "Where do you consider flag football among the risk levels?" Because if you go back, I think I had low risk sports here, and then moderate, and then high risk, and I don't have anything on flag football. What do you guys think?

Gary Goldberg:

I think it's an awesome alternative to touch football right now, and I think it could be done safely. In fact, the school that my kids went to, it's looking at setting up an intra-school flag football league, because their contact football is not going to play, I don't believe have a chance of playing inter scholastically. So I think flag is cool.

Gary Goldberg:

I know Mark, at Augusta, you guys have a huge relationship with that national flag football organization, I can't remember the name of it, you can correct my by giving that. But I think flag is where it's at. I also think it's an awesome sport too. It's low contact, it's low concussion, and it's a ton of fun.

Mark Botterill:

Good points Gary, and I agree with you. NFL Flag. Flag football surpassed tackle football for the first time last year, in just over 1,00,000 participants. But there's some good folks that run the flag programs like USA Football, NFL Flag. It's an art form. I almost look at NFL Flag is that sort of empty swimming pool for skate boarders. It just became a canvas for them to express a more artistic way of playing football.

Mark Botterill:

And as such, because of its innovation in terms of allowing kids to express themselves, six through 10 year olds now is the highest growth area, in particular girls. I don't think it threatens other sports' participation, I think it's a complement. And I think folks like the NFL Flag, a company called Reigning Champs that runs it, have done some tremendous, innovative things. They alone have about, pre-COVID, about 550,000 kids participating.

Mark Botterill:

So if I'm a youth organization looking for perhaps opportunities to offer more sports or different sports, to keep that family as a member of my organization, I would consider looking at flag initiatives to operate. Because there's not a lot of coaching involved, I'm probably going to get shot down there by an NFL coach, flag coach, but there's a lot of freedom in flag, and there's a lot of art form to the game, versus more of the physical nature of tackle.

Jeanne Hopkins:

That's fantastic. I don't see any other-

Mark Botterill:

I can't wait to get a note from Pete Rosales saying don't be putting down flag football.

Jeanne Hopkins:

You guys are both so knowledgeable, and totally appreciate everything that you've been able to talk about, and you have such a nice conversation together. We appreciate everything that you're doing for us, and we look forward to number three, which will be next month on September 24th. We will be talking about innovation and technology, because there's a lot of important parts of this, and we can use some of those organizations that you brought up Mark, and possibly be able to share them with our audience. Thanks everybody.

Mark Botterill:

Thank you.

Jeanne Hopkins:

You will be getting a copy of the recording. Thank you Mark, thank you Gary-

Gary Goldberg:

Thanks Jeanne.

Jeanne Hopkins:

... for being such awesome guests, we really appreciate it.

Gary Goldberg:

Bye Mark, see you buddy.

Mark Botterill:

See you Gary. Thanks for the chat. Love it.

Gary Goldberg:

Take care.

Mark Botterill:

See you guys. Take care everybody. Best of luck to everybody.


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Back to School Check-In: How’s It Going So Far?

A new school year is underway for most students – in some form, anyway. While some schools have opted to re-open their doors, most are sticking with online learning, at least for now, with an eye...

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We Tried It . . . and We’re All Smiles Under This Mask

We Tried It . . . and We’re All Smiles Under This...

Here at SquadLocker, we can't stop talking about the UA Sportsmask. And we’re smiling because this mask scores in so many ways. It’s got you covered at every position:

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Return to Play Webinar Hosted by SquadLocker and Augusta Sportswear Focuses on Innovation and Tech

Return to Play Webinar Hosted by SquadLocker and...

SquadLocker’s Gary Goldberg and Augusta Sportswear’s Mark Botterill discuss increasing role of innovation and tech in safe return to play – Thursday, September 24, 2020

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5 custom decorated items to add to your store in 2020 (other than apparel)

5 custom decorated items to add to your store in...

One of the greatest benefits of your SquadLocker store is that it serves as a one-stop shopping “mall” for all your apparel essentials from school dress uniforms to sports uniforms and practice...

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