Burton is one of many youth in the area eager to play in a tackle football program under the umbrella of the new Western Newfoundland Football Association.
The 12-year-old Grade 6 student at Templeton Academy will be heading to the Wellington Street Sports Complex today to participate in an on-field event being used to promote the game with the help of the Grey Cup champion Ottawa Redblacks. The Redblacks are in the province for a tour of the island with the big trophy in tow.
Jeff Hunt, a Newfoundlander, is the man who made the Grey Cup visit possible. He is the first Newfoundlander to have his name on the Grey Cup so he wanted to share the success with people in his home province.
Burton was looking for a new challenge when he discovered he enjoyed tossing around the football with a group of his friends at school. He started watching it on television last year and quickly adopted the Redblacks as his favourite team because it was in close proximity to his native province and the team’s owner is a Newfoundlander.
“When I heard about that I was so excited. That was before I broke my wrist and I’m still excited. I was in a good mood ever since that day,” he said.
He broke his wrist a few weeks ago while skiing at Marble Mountain so he hasn’t been active as he normally is, but expects his cast will be removed over the next week or so.
A chance to play football in an organized and competitive environment will be new territory for young guys like Burton. All that matters to him is that he’ll be playing. He will learn the rules and other things to do to keep safe while on the field.
A big smile comes across Burton’s face when he thinks about how neat it will be to be a football player with visions of his own championship run some day.
He has looked all over the city for a Redblacks jersey, but had no luck to date.