Mother, fan, volunteer

a passion for rec sports

Brenda Arbogast followed her son to youth football league - and stayed

November 16, 2008|By Patrick Gutierrez | Patrick Gutierrez,patrick.gutierrez@baltsun.com

Brenda Arbogast was one of those mothers who swore her son would never play football.

Fearful of injury, and not knowing much about the sport, she was completely against the idea until a trusted friend convinced her it would be OK.

Many years later, with her son's playing days long behind him, the 48-year-old full-time accounting assistant is not only still a fan of the game she grew to love, but now spends much of her free time supporting it at the youth level.

As the volunteer assistant commissioner of the Hereford Youth Football League, the Sparks native wears many helmets.

From making sure the fields are ready to go, to tending to any injuries that occur on them - Arborgast is also an EMT - she barely resembles the football novice she once was.

How long have you been doing this?

I've been volunteering for 13 years now.

Even though your son no longer plays, you continue to stay involved with the league. Why do you do it?

I really enjoy it. The love of the boys, the love of the game. ...

I like watching the kids have a good time.

I was one of those mothers that was never going to let my son play football. I really thought he'd get hurt. When my son was 8, a friend of mine talked me into letting him play.

I've been a fan ever since.

What is a typical game day like? How many hours do you put in?

Typically 7-10 hours. On game days [Saturdays] I'm here at 7 a.m. making sure the field gets set up and all the little ones are geared up properly. I watch 5-7 games. I tend to any players that might get hurt. At the end of the day we tear it all [down] and go home.

How about the rest of the week?

In August [pre-season] I'm here five nights a week making sure everyone has the proper equipment and is on the right team.

I walk around during practices to make sure the players are happy and having a good time.

During the season, I do two nights a week, three hours a night.

I turn the lights on for practice, coordinate with the cheerleaders for the upcoming games, and address any issues that come up.

What are some of the challenges you face?

We have issues with the parents when they aren't happy with the coaches. I try to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Also, coaches with their own sons can be difficult because they tend to be harder on them. I try to make it a pleasurable experience for both of them.

I tell the coaches, "He's my son, treat him right!"

Also, we've gotten so big. When my son started, he was the 11th player on the third team and now we have 15 teams. Each year it keeps getting bigger and bigger.

How many teams, players, coaches are involved?

We have 15 teams, about 285 players, and 75 coaches in our league.

What was the worst injury you've seen?

Last year [a medevac helicopter] flew a child out because he had a neck injury. They kept him overnight for observation. He's all right and playing again this year.

Other than that, the usual broken bones.

How long do you plan on doing this?

Until they put me in the ground, I guess. I really don't think about stopping. I'm having too much fun!

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