Local high school athletes organize these games that are played at the John McKay Center.
By Jason Lewis
Pickup basketball games have been around as long as that sport has been played. At basketball courts around the nation, a bunch of guys just show up and play.
Football has never really worked that way. It can be difficult to get together 10-plus guys, and there are no fields where people can just show up to and hop in a game.
Well Domajae Williams and Joshua Perez have figured out a way to not only get 10 guys to show up, but over 50 guys. They simply posted a photo of a football player on Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, with instructions of when and where the games would be.
The photo was shared among their friends and football teammates, who shared it with their friends. It did not take long for the photo invitation to reach high school and junior college football players throughout the city.
Williams is a freshman at Hawkins High School, and Perez is a freshman at Cathedral High School. Players from Dorsey, Crenshaw, Westchester, Hawthorne, and many other schools show up. Some of the teams are composed of high school teammates, while other teams are created on the spot.
Williams and Perez typically play football on USC’s, and they used this as a way to bring their peers together.
“We come here a lot, so we decided to put it together and everybody came out,” Williams said.
The format of these games follow 7-on-7 tournament rules, which most of the athletes are familiar with from playing with their high school or other organizations. Similar to pickup basketball games, the players call their own penalties and referee the games themselves, which leads to several spirited debates.
The games are competitive and fun at the same time, and it gives some of the players an opportunity that they otherwise would not have had to hone their skills.
“Some of these kids don’t have 7-on-7 teams,” Perez said.
One interesting aspect about these games is that there are no adults involved. Typically a group of 50-plus youth football players are at a practice or a camp. They are being told when to be there, what to do, and where to go. There can be severe consequences for not following orders. But in these pickup games, it’s just kids being kids. They structure the games in a way that suits them, and they express themselves in the way that they want to. There are no penalties for excessive celebrations.
More games will be scheduled, and the competition will become more fierce as more players find out about it. The best way to find out when the games will be held is to follow Williams on Instagram @__MrGetItDone.