July 22, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Brentwood Doubles Up on Flag Football Champs

 At a time when private sports coaches seem as plentiful as piano teachers and math tutors, while parents are as interested in their children’s clubs as they are their professional teams, the joy and experience of the Los Angeles Flag Football Youth All-stars tournament gripped one small park in Brentwood.

The sports director at Barrington Recreation Center, Eric Mellem, selected Mike Friedman and Blaine Lourd, to draft two teams to represent Brentwood for the tourney. What did the coaches see when they examined the draft list?

“Talent. Loads of it,†said coach Friedman.

Never mind Barrington Rec Center plays NFL five on five flag football, which does not allow blocking, while the city tournament rules are seven on seven with blocking. They believed they had the skill and training for both the park’s teams to go the distance .

The training?

“The way we play at Barrington, with only five players on the field, if one mistake is made it’s a huge gain for your opponent. Defense was a big part of our practices. The best athletes had to become excellent flag pullers while also learning how to play this style of football together as a team,†stated Coach Mike Friedman. Clearly, this strategy worked as his team finished with three shutouts in the elimination rounds, including the championship game.
Championship?

Yes. Along the way the Barrington Blue All-Stars beat Granada Hills, Palisades, Mar Vista, Balboa and an undefeated Cheviot group to vault into the finals…against another unbeaten opponent. The Barrington Gold team.

Huh?

Out of several parks participating in the tournament, the two last standing were entrants for Barrington Recreation Center. Friends against friends, familiar players and parents. The first time in the history of the tournament a pair of teams from Barrington Park competed for the title, the Blue troop grinded out a win to claim the City championship in a thrilling match. Both clubs achieved the honor of their names enshrined on banners to hang at the gym.

Personally, as park board president, I think we showed the kind of talent being nurtured and developed at Barrington. We are proud of the teams and what they accomplished.

In the end, a pair of squads emerged from the frenzied schedule, playing night after cold night, avoiding elimination. Both clubs flashed the emblem of Barrington Recreation Center on their jerseys, the players beaming as they accepted their 1st and 2nd place trophies. Most of the same faces who started out their sporting experiences at the age of five at Barrington Park’s successful athletic programs now stood side by side; all champions together.

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