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WHY POP WARNER

 

 HISTORY OF POP WARNER LITTLE SCHOLARS, INC.




It all began in 1929 when the owner of a new factory in Northeast Philadelphia enlisted the aid of a young friend, Joseph J. Tomlin, to solve a recurring problem. The factory's huge ground-to-floor windows were constantly being shattered - 100 broken windows in just one month - by teenagers hurling stones from a nearby vacant lot.





Joseph J. Tomlin


Joe Tomlin, an enthusiastic athlete who had excelled in sports in high school and college, had a possible answer. Since the other factories in the area were also being plagued by the young vandals, he suggested that the building owners get together to fund an athletic program for the kids. In those days, the city did not have organized recreation programs to keep idle kids occupied and out of trouble.

The owners agreed, and asked Tomlin to set up a program. Commuting from his job as a stockbroker in New York City, he returned to his home in Philadelphia each weekend. Fall was approaching, so football seemed a logical choice to begin the new project. He set up a schedule for a four-team Junior Football Conference in time for the 1929 season.

Then October came, and with it the collapse of the stock market. He left New York and returned to Philadelphia to concentrate on youth work.




Glenn Scobie "Pop" Warner


By 1933, the Junior Football Conference had expanded to 16 teams. That year Glenn Scobie "Pop" Warner, already a legend among active football coaches, arrived in Philadelphia to coach the Temple Owls. Joe Tomlin met Pop Warner at a winter banquet and asked him to lecture at a spring clinic Tomlin was planning for his JFC teams.

On the evening of April 19, 1934, the temperature dropped to an unseasonable low, with high winds and torrential rain mixed with sleet. Of the dozen area college football coaches scheduled to speak at the clinic, only Pop Warner showed up. The 800 excited young football players kept him talking and answering questions for two hours. By the end of the evening, by popular acclaim, the fledging youth program was renamed the Pop Warner Conference.

The prestigious Warner name was a powerful attraction. By 1938, there were 157 teams. Most of the players were at least 15 years old and a few were even over 30. Competition was organized along top weights only, except for the youngest kids. Teams represented neighborhoods in the city, while suburban teams represented towns.

During the depression years, a large number of kids left school. Tomlin, a great believer in the importance of education, fought the trend with literature and speakers. He also arranged for tutors for "marginal" kids who wanted to stay in school.

When World War II came, the Pop Warner Conference lost most of its older players. Some squads folded, while others merged. Only 42 teams remained.

Although the Conference rebounded to 100 teams in the 1947 season, there was a shift in membership. Many of the returning service-men abandoned football. Increasingly, the teams were composed of 15-year-olds or younger. Rules were set up for their benefit, including minimum and maximum weights. The era of "midget football" had begun.

The first "kiddie" bowl game, called the Santa Claus Bowl, was played on December 27, 1947, in 6 inches of snow before 2000 freezing spectators. The Clickets midget team, sponsored by Palumbo's, a Philadelphia supper club, competed against Frank Sinatra's Cyclones, a New York team.

The Philadelphia team won the game, 6-0, and the Philadelphia Pop Warner Conference won the attention of the nation for the first time.

As football for kids began to develop in communities across the country, Tomlin was deluged with requests for help in starting teams. By the early 1950s, he was determined to "go national." Although he had some supporters, he also had detractors. Many people were convinced that tackle football was too dangerous for kids. Joe told them that the Philadelphia midget program had operated for 15 years without a fatality or serious injury. They wouldn't listen.

In 1953, he spoke at the National Education Association symposium on "Sports for Youth" in Washington, D.C. He suggested to the attendees that a liaison should be formed between the sports and educational establishments for the good of the students. They wouldn't listen.

But there were others who did. Among them: the American Football Coaches Association which bestowed its coveted "Stagg Award" on Joe Tomlin in 1955 for his pioneering work among youth; a major national insurance underwriter which offered a plan with rates based on empirical evidence that tackle football for kids is as safe as its proponents claimed; and Bert Bell, then NFL Commissioner, who, shortly before his death, agreed to introduce the PW program to team owners to gain their support nationally.

Tomlin's dream finally became a reality when Pop Warner Little Scholars was officially incorporated as a national non-profit organization in 1959. The name was selected to underscore the basic concept of Pop Warner- that the classroom is as important as the playing field.

Walt Disney, attracted by this philosophy, filmed a two-hour show, "Moochie of Pop Warner Football." It aired on ABC in 1960, and can still be seen today on the Disney cable channel.

In the 1960's, Pop Warner Football burgeoned in small hamlets, mid-sized cities and metropolitan areas from coast to coast. By the end of the decade there were over 3000 teams.

But football was for boys and girls felt left out. Cheering from the stands wasn't enough. They wanted, somehow, to share in the excitement and fun down on the field. So Pop Warner introduced a new activity: cheerleading. The girls loved it, and during the 1970s this new branch of Pop Warner grew rapidly.

In 1983, in response to many requests, a flag football program was initiated. Originally designed for teams on a tight budget, this sport has become an excellent training ground for tackle leagues.

Today, there are over 400,000 boys and girls, ages 5-16, participating in Pop Warner programs in the United States. Teams in Mexico, Japan and other countries have also joined the "Pop Warner family." There are now over 5,000 football teams, playing in eight different age/weight classifications.

Cheerleading programs have expanded beyond the traditional "sideline squads" to include performing groups such as majorettes, pom squads, dancing boots and pep squads. The first National Cheerleading Competition was held in 1988 and now shares the spotlight with the annual Pop Warner Super Bowl, held each year at Walt Disney World.

There is also another competition which is an integral part of the Pop Warner program. This competition recognizes academic excellence, and being named an All-American Scholar is a coveted honor for any PW player or cheerleader.

Author James Michener termed Pop Warner Football as "organized juvenile sports at its best." But Pop Warner is more than sports for kids. It's also the dedicated volunteers- the coaches, field administrators, Board of Directors, Trustees - and the generous contributors and sponsors who make it all possible.

Joe Tomlin passed away on May 16, 1988 at the age of 85, however, he left a legacy which will endure as long as there are kids and footballs- and dreams.



© 2018 Pop Warner. All information contained herein is property of Pop Warner.

WHY POP WARNER






Pop Warner consisting of approximately 325,000 young people ranging from ages 5 to 16 years old, Pop Warner is the largest youth football, cheer and dance program in the world.

 

POP WARNER IS THE LARGEST YOUTH FOOTBALL, CHEER AND DANCE PROGRAM IN THE WORLD.

WHY POP WARNER






Here are a few of the many reasons you should join Pop Warner:

 
  • NO TRYOUTS! - We have no tryouts or cutting or rosters!
  • More than just athletes! - Pop Warner is the only national youth sports organization in America that requires its participants to perform adequately in the classroom before permitting them to play.
  • Little Scholars Program - Pop Warner is the only national youth sports organization in America that rewards its members for their outstanding performance in the classroom.
  • Stability - Pop Warner is the oldest national youth football and cheerleading organization in the world.  Founded in 1929 by Joe Tomlin, we now have over 140 leagues and over 425,000 members, worldwide.
  • Pop Warner National Championships - Each year, Pop Warner hosts the Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships.  For the past 11 years, the event has taken place at ESPN's Wide World of Sports ComplexTM at Disney World.  More than 300 cheer and dance squads and 64 football teams compete for the right to be crowned Pop Warner National Champion.
  • National Scholar Banquet - Pop Warner hosts an awards program each year to celebrate the accomplishments of our participants.  Nationally, we select First Team, Second Team and Honorable Mention All-American Scholars.
  • College Scholarships - Each year, we award scholarships for higher education to the most deserving students in our highest grade levels.  Pop Warner is proud to have awarded nearly one million dollars in scholarships in just 17 years!
  • Mandatory Play requirements - Everyone participates under mandatory rules of play, so every child is guaranteed to play.
  • Age-Weight Structure – Kids compete with kids of similar age and size. We set and enforce a strict AGE & WEIGHT MATRIX that reduces the risk and reality of injuries.
  • Volunteers & Coaches – We have over 40,000 volunteers and coaches that are being trained every year to offer the best and safest programs for you and your children.
  • It all starts here – The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) estimates that between 60% and 70% of all NFL players began their careers playing Pop Warner Football.
  • Background Checks – Pop Warner programs nationwide are required to annually conduct a background check of Coaches, Board of Directors members and any other persons, volunteers or hired workers, who provide regular service to the league and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players and/or spirit participants. The purpose of these background checks is, first and foremost, to protect the children.
  • Safety, Safety, Safety! – Kids compete with kids of similar age and size. Pop Warner is the ONLY youth football program (local, regional and national) that sets and enforces a strict AGE & WEIGHT MATRIX that reduces the risk and reality of injuries. Did you know that Pop Warner football is safer than soccer? Pop Warner football has 12% fewer injuries per capita among 5-15 year olds than organized soccer in the same age range!
  • Concussion Prevention & Awareness –In addition to its more stringent return to play concussion rules, Pop Warner took the lead in youth sports by creating a Medical Advisory Board. The Board was created to ensure Pop Warner remains proactive on all medical issues that affect youth sports, particularly football and cheerleading, with a primary focus on prevention and proper identification and treatment of concussions, hydration awareness, proper nutrition guidelines, and general health and safety issues.
  • Coaching Education Programs –The safety of our athletes is always the top priority and that is why we provide extensive training for all our football and cheer & dance coaches.
  • National Rule Book – Each Pop Warner Region, League and Association receive free National rule books for their organizations.
  • Coaches and Adult Codes of Conduct – All coaches, football and spirit participants must abide by a Code of Conduct which includes several provisions. If any of these rules are broken, the League shall have the authority to impose a penalty.

© 2018 Pop Warner. All information contained herein is property of Pop Warner.

Contact Us

Upland Pop Warner Football & Cheer

154 -A West Foothill Blvd., #354
Upland, California 91786

Email Us: [email protected]
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