BOZEMAN — The Atlanta Falcons hosted a girls flag football camp at Bobcat Stadium on Thursday, as former Falcons players taught the girls in attendance basic football fundamentals.
“They’re learning about life through football," said former Falcons linebacker Buddy Curry, who played in the NFL from 1980-1987. "You love the touchdowns and you love the first downs, stops on defense, but it’s really about the things you learn and the camaraderie and I think these young ladies will experience that.”
Falcons owner Arthur Blank started the camps four years ago in Georgia and then Alabama. Flag football took off like wildfire with the girls in those areas. Now, with his ties to Montana, Blank is looking to build it from the ground up in the Treasure State. Thursday's camp in Bozeman was preceded by a similar one in Missoula on Wednesday.
“We know that’s going to be the case here in Montana, so right now we’re out here and teaching them all about the football fundamentals for girls flag and then from here talking to different schools about adding it as sport and then bringing it to the whole state of Montana,” said Amanda Dinkel, the Falcons director of community relations.
This is all about giving girls new avenues to stay active. With this camp, what better way to learn football than from former players.
“We just instill on the girls hard work, great effort, how to be a great teammate and try as hard as you can and really enjoy the experience," said Curry. "I think it's going to catch on and these girls are going to be overjoyed with it.”
The Falcons organization and the Montana High School Association are trying to make girls flag football a sanctioned high school sport in Montana.
“We’re hoping within the next year to get some teams together here in Montana to start playing each other and then from there, hoping just like it did in other states to take off," said Dinkel.
Matt Reimel, the NFL flag national tournament director who has a daughter himself, wants to urge parents to let their daughters have a chance to just try the sport.
“Parents at home, I would urge you let your daughter tryout," he said. "Let her go to one of these clinics or camps. Let her tryout. She’s more than likely going to enjoy it and pick up some of the tips of the game. Who knows, maybe one day she’s going off and playing in college.”
Most of all, the Falcons organization, the former players and everyone else involved just want to see the girls have fun playing flag football.
“Seeing these girls laughing and smiling and making new friends and learning the sport of football, that means so much to us,” Dinkel said.