By John Bombatch
FAIRBORN — League play hadn’t even started yet and the Fairborn Wee Hawks youth football program had beaten one common opponent.
They beat the rain, Friday evening, during the teams’ opening ceremony celebration at Cemex Field.
After a harmonious rendition of the National Anthem was sung by the Miami Valley Music Men, Wee Hawks vice president Rodney McCubbins introduced the various members of the organization’s board, as well as school board officials and city board members who were in attendance, including new school superintendent Mark North, first-year Fairborn High School varsity football coach Chris Roark and Fairborn mayor Dan Kirkpatrick.
Roark said he was impressed by the Fairborn community’s show of support for its youth football program.
“I’ve been a part of organized football since 1971, and I’ve made several stops along the way, but I’ve never seen anything as impressive as this for a youth football program,” he told the crowd of more than 200 fans, family and friends. “This is really an awesome show of support. It’s really first class.
“Everyone asks me what I think of Fairborn, since I’ve been here. And I think what comes to mind for me is the sense of community that is here. From our kids, to our coaches to to parents. Everybody has been very welcoming and I certainly appreciate that,” Roark said.
The veteran high school coach said he appreciates the sacrifice that parents and youth coaches go through at the grassroots levels of the sport. He said that they’re the reasons a high school program eventually shines on Friday nights.
Mayor Kirkpatrick then said a few words and thanked the community for coming out and supporting the team. A little girl pranced up to him in the middle of his speech, but she quickly scampered away when the mayor tried to hand her the microphone.
Wee Hawks president Gordon Carter then thanked his staff for helping to work behind the scenes and get everything ready for the new season. He assured parents that uniforms would arrive from the manufacturer in Taiwan very soon. An apparent customs glitch has left uniforms for not only the Fairborn youth program, but for the Springboro and Beavercreek youth football programs as well.
“We appreciate your support and patience,” he told the crowd.
The Wee Hawks are members of the Western Ohio Junior Football Conference, a league affiliated with the Indianapolis-based USA Football youth sports organization. The Wee Hawks begin conference play at 10 a.m. today with road games at Huber Heights’ Community Park.
Fairborn’s first home youth football games will take place Saturday, Aug. 20 starting at 2 p.m. at Cemex Field.