OSWEGO, N.Y. – This year SUNY Oswego introduces the new flag football club. Flag football is a non-contact variation of traditional American football.
“It’s a group of guys and girls that are looking to get that itch of football still in their lives,” said Dylan Zielinski, president of the flag football club. “Obviously Oswego doesn’t have a football team, so that’s kind of where the idea of it came from.”
Because it is a non-contact sport, people playing can still get the same benefits of playing normal football, but without the physical contact. Some of the benefits include getting physical exercise, emotional connections, and social interactions. But one of the biggest reasons is that people that love the sport say that it’s fun no matter what your skill level is.
The sport’s rise is evident in the rapid increase of local leagues, school programs, and recreational teams popping up across the country. The sport isn’t just big all across America, it’s big all over the world with it even becoming a brand new sport in the Olympics in 2028.
“I think it’s pretty phenomenal how rapidly it’s caught on and obviously now it’s going to be in the Olympics in 2028 it’s gotten a great deal of attention than it otherwise would have,” said Christopher Mack, the faculty advisor for the club. “Anybody can play, men and women coed teams, all ages so I think it can be a fun way to build on all the positive virtues football can promote.”
As president of the club, Zielinski wanted to bring football to Oswego and this club was his way of doing it. Oswego already has their intramural football league, which includes small tournaments and competitions. The club brings the team aspect.
In the club they practice two times a week, where together they learn how to play better as a team. Together they will create both offensive and defensive plays that will work the best for them. They also keep a competitive edge with different members competing for the different positions on the team.
“In the club there’s building of plays, the building on defense so you have to show up to practice,” said Zielinski. “It’s a very open thing where like if you have an idea for a play bring it and let’s try it if it works it works, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.”
Another aspect of the practices that the members love is the team bonding. The members of the club consider themselves a family and would help each other with anything whether it is football related or just life related. Because of this teammates can build chemistry off the field which only builds their chemistry on the field.
“I love the brotherhood that’s been created there, I feel like I’ve met some of my best friends through flag football so that’s awesome,” said Brian DeMuro, wide receiver in the club. “I love everybody from the organization and from the club and I hope that in the future and in the coming years that can just continue to grow.”
But one of the biggest goals of the club was to compete against other schools. Other flag football teams are being formed at different colleges and they also want to compete. Because these other schools want to compete they want to play as many other schools as possible.
“I wanted to compete against another school, this year we did compete against RIT. That was a great time we went out to them,” said Zielinski . “The next big goal is to compete in a NIRSA tournament, we’re working that out but it’s not going to be till next semester.”
NIRSA stands for National Intramural – Sports Association. They hold tournaments all across America for different intramural sports leagues like basketball, soccer, and of course flag football.
Competing in this tournament will only help the club grow in popularity and will give the club sport a real sport feeling competing against other schools in a tournament.
“I think it’s only going to expand in its popularity because of the attractions of football, obviously there’s lots of football fans and people who love the sport now get to play the sport and I think that’s more meaningful than the old style of football,” said Mack.
Anyone is welcome to join the club whether it is for the love of football and they want to keep playing or if they just want to give it a try. The club welcomes anyone with open arms and helps members become the best player that you can be.