What a refreshing scene to watch young fifth to eighth graders playing flag football on Saturday mornings at Santa Monica High School. Coach Jim Makris launched his non-profit sports program, Compete Forever, as a response to the COVID-19 global pandemic in the fall of last year. He recognized that our young people were not exercising and decided to take matters into his own hands.
An invitation to a few of Santa Monica’s youth to meet down at Station #26 on the beach to play pick-up football games quickly morphed into over 75 student athletes eager to participate. From this foundation, Coach Makris organized a co-ed fall football league that consists of 130 players who form six teams of fifth and sixth graders and four teams of seventh and eighth graders.
Compete Forever reflects the values that Coach Makris hopes to instill in these young student-athletes – to develop life-long competitors not only in their athletic careers but beyond – into all aspects of their futures.
His staff consists of current and former high school and college football coaches, former college athletes, and football alumni from local high schools who volunteer their time and share their knowledge to benefit Santa Monica’s boys and girls. Safety is paramount – with players not only wearing face-covering masks but, also, a requirement that all players wear soft helmets during both practices and games.
Kudos to Coach Makris who not only serves as a positive coaching role model for the young student athletes playing football, but who also serves as an example of someone who “leaned into the obstacle” of COVID-19 and discovered a way to build a program that didn’t exist before!
You can learn more about Compete Forever by following @comPeteforever on Instagram or by contacting Coach Jim Makris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Tim Kusserow