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Keepin’ It Real - With A Smile!

As we move into the championship round of all football divisions Friday and Saturday here at Pop Warner Super Bowl 63, plenty of accolades have been showered on outstanding teams and coaches who have overcome big challenges all week long, and rightly so. Some have even made the ESPN Top Ten highlights in the process!  

But, one group that would just as soon you not hear anything about them may well face the toughest challenges of all this week. “And, they are?” Why, those veteran Pop Warner officials who consistently call a great game, of course. 

Veteran Central Florida Officials Association Commissioner Jamel Taylor said it best when he spoke about the role of a good football referee on any level of play, including and especially here at the Pop Warner Super Bowl. "The most important thing for us is to go to a game and no one remembers who we are. If they remember you, that means you put your will into the game, and no official wants that."

We all know that the job of refereeing and/or umpiring any competitive sport, pro or amateur, high school or youth, can be tough. And, when “the  call” is critical, as it often can be, all eyes are on the game officials, and right or wrong, everybody on the sidelines, in a dugout, or in the stands will let you know, right away, what THEY think. 

That’s why being keen-eyed, even-tempered, fair-minded, balanced, diplomatic, and non-impactful on the outcome-of-a-game are all important skills for good refs to have here at the Pop Warner Super Bowl. 

And, if you think that good referees, the really good ones, don’t prepare for that challenge, think again. Mitch Fazzio, CFOA vice president of football, and the chief of referees here at the Pop Warner Super Bowl, conducts a conference with his referees before and after each game.

"I go through every game on the schedule, if there were any problems, the good stuff, the bad stuff that happened, even things as trivial as where the referees park their cars," Fazzio said.

And, with the best teams of refs, you can tell right away that those officials are as dedicated as the players to making sure they are in the right position on every play. Some, Mid-America and Central Florida officials, like Morris Middleton, even begin the day at 5:30 a.m. with a workout that includes weightlifting and running on a treadmill, just so they can keep up with players, in some cases, who are 50 years younger. 

And, speaking of great veteran referees, a special shout-out this week goes to an old friend of Pop Warner, retired now but still a fixture at Pop Warner Super Bowl week, and a Central Florida Hall of Famer in two sports- football and baseball- Mr. Don Trawick. 

Talking to the affable 82-year-old assignor of officials for the Pop Warner Super Bowl as he zips around the ESPN Wide World of Sports checking on Mitch’s teams and spinning stories of the three generations of coaches and players he has known (many of whom have gone on to headline careers in the Major League Baseball and the National Football League), you realize that Don Trawick has been a staple in Florida high school sports officiating for more than half of his life.

The native of the coastal waterway fisherman’s paradise of Pea River, Alabama, Don graduated from Enterprise High School where he was co-captain of his football team. Don tells us that his focus on details goes back to when he played center for Enterprise High in the early 1950s. “I’d practice snapping the ball into the opening in the ticket booth that was set up right near the field. I got so I could snap it right into that opening nine times outta ten.”

Don went on to play football at Troy State University, and later served in the Marine Corps. In 1959, he moved to Orlando where his lifelong love affair with sports officiating began.

Trawick started as a contest official for the Orange Baseball Association in 1961. In 1963, he joined the Central Florida Officials Association. Since then, he has officiated thousands of baseball and football games, from Pop Warner to high school state finals. 

Today, Don is considered one of the greatest teachers and mentors of officials that the state has ever known. He has trained high school umpires and mentored hundreds of collegiate and professional officials, including Roy Ellison, who was on the officiating crew at Super Bowl XLIII as the umpire.

As an assignor, Trawick has been responsible for booking every high school baseball game in Central Florida as well as being the assignment officer for high school football. After being named the FHSAA Contributor of the Year in 2004, in 2008 Don was inducted into the Central Florida Officials Association Hall of Fame as a member of its inaugural class. And, “Trawick” or “Pea River”, as he’s known to Pop Warner pals, even stole the show from Adam Sandler as a key official in the movie “WATER BOY”

For Don Trawick , one of those veteran officials who at the height of his career wanted to stay out of the limelight, the accolades now just keep coming. Recently, Don was honored by Seminole High School Baseball with the “Home Plate” Award for his many years of goodwill, fairness, and a signature sense of humor on high school diamonds through the Sunshine State.

Yes, Don Trawick's influence transcends generations of officials in two different sports, and his legacy in Florida high school sports officiating will continue for many years. Pop Warner offers sincere thanks to Don, Mitch, Larry, Jamel and our veteran Pop Warner Super Bowl Football officials who continue to keep the action rolling through good judgment, diplomacy and balance…Yep, we salute you all who “ keep it real…with a smile!”

Titans True-Blue: The Pop Warner Way

Of the many wonderful stories that come to us each year from our Pop Warner families in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, the D-II Kekaha Titans of Kauai have a special family story that embraces oh so many values synonymous with The Pop Warner Way. Thanks to Albette Bajo for sharing her story, and that of her son Xyrus, with us.

Four years ago, Xyrus Bajo, playing here this week with his Kekaha Titan teammates at Pop Warner Super Bowl 63, was living a much different life devoid not only of sports, school and friends…but hope.   

Back then (early October, 2015), Hawaii’s Child Protective Services received word of three children on Kauai living in a tent in some brush near a river with a drug addicted parent.

Upon arrival the case-worker saw that the children were trying to cope with unfit living conditions. Due to the Mom’s history with drugs & homelessness, all three siblings were taken into foster care. Because there was no Resource Caregiver to take in all three siblings, they were split up. 

Soon, foster parents Albette & Alan Bajo, not only took Xyrus’s younger brother in into their care , they mentioned to the case worker that it would be good to keep the two boys together. The case-worker agreed. And, in early January 2016 - Xyrus was moved into the Bajo’s home with his younger brother. 

Since then, Xyrus has grown tremendously. His behavior improved at school & his social skills, as well. Right away, the Bajos introduced Xyrus to sports. He played baseball, basketball, flag football & Pop Warner tackle football. 

After trying everything out, Xyrus realized that football was his passion. He loved everything about it. The physical aspects, the fun & the excitement as well as being a part of a team & meeting new friends (something totally new to Xyrus) had him quickly loving Pop Warner Football even more. 

His first year at playing Mitey Mites (2016) for the Kekaha Titans he learned so much about the game & sport that he talked about in non-stop with his foster family. 

When it was time for his 2nd year (2017) with Mitey Mites the coaching staff noticed he was heavier then the previous year and that JPW might be an option for him. When asked he was conflicted as that would make him the youngest player on the team at 8 years old & he wasn't sure if he could keep up with the bigger, older & more advanced players. 

After some positive reinforcement, Xyrus decided to give JPW a try. He knew that in order to get more playing time he had to show the JPW staff that he could keep up with his teammates. And he tried his best to show them he could. 

Xyrus eventually became the starting center for his team that year. He not only met the challenge of “moving up” on the football field, Xyrus started excelling in the classroom and feeling even more confident at home and in the community.

Then, “March 23, 2017” became a very special day for the Xyrus and his younger brother. They were both legally adopted by Albette Bajo and her husband Alan . 

As Albette recalls, “ Now knowing that he had a forever home, Xyrus was ecstatic. Knowing he would never go down that road of homelessness again created a sparkle in his eyes; especially when he could officially write his new last name on his school papers.” 

From 2016 right up until today,  Xyrus has continued to love playing Pop Warner Football at the faster and more physical division with the older players while his football IQ just keeps getting higher and higher.

As Albette Bajo tells us, “We can only imagine what would've happened if God did not send that CPS worker to rescue Xyrus and his siblings.”  But now, thanks to faith, his new forever family & Pop Warner Football, Xyrus Bajo’s future life path is directing him to a more positive & promising future. 

For a wonderful interview with Albette Bajo and evidence of that super smile from Xyrus Bajo, check out their video below:

“Mahalo nui loa!” (Thank you very much) to Xyrus Bajo and his Forever Mom, Albette for a True-Blue Titan story that does so well to underscore The Pop Warner Way.


Under sunny skies and temps in the high 70s, new teams in Pop Warner Age-Based Division-play tallied wins, while capturing the attention of enthusiastic crowds, here at Day II of Pop Warner Super Bowl 63. Among those first-timers were the Proviso TWP Bills 10Us from Maywood, Illinois and the Torrey Pines Falcons 12Us from the San Diego, California area.

Bills Thrills – Living The Dream!

For the Proviso TWP Bills, their opening round 12-7 victory over the tough and talented Monroe Wolverines from Monroe, NJ (in the first appearance of Pop Warner Age-Based Division play at the Pop Warner Super Bowl) was an experience that had been no less
than four decades in the making.

As Bills’ Coach DeVaughn told us, “I checked with our local sources back home to confirm it. But, it does look like it’s been about 40 years since a Proviso Pop Warner team has advanced to any sort of league or regional championship, let alone a shot at a national championship.”

Now, at long last, here they are! In terms of numbers, Bills 10u team isn’t a big squad. But, as the Bills’ coaches know full well, “We play together and we play with a whole lot of heart. And, that’s the way we’ve played all season long, right through today.

It’s great to be playing some of the very best competition in the country. And, it’s especially great to be here at ESPN Wide World of sports and Disney World.” Congratulations to those ramblin’ red Proviso Bills!

Check out some of the highlights of their first round game

A Pop Warner-Reboot Powers Torrey Pines

While some folks know Torrey Pines, California for its incredibly beautiful coastal preserve, its fabulous climate and prime surfing at nearby La Jolla, others knew Torrey Pines for its long-standing tradition of Pop Warner Football and Cheer excellence that provided a great teamwork and fun experience to thousands of kids and families over a span of some 30 years.

That’s why, last year, when Torrey Pines Pop Warner dropped out of Carmel Valley, citing a big dip in enrollment numbers, it came as both a shock and a huge disappointed to Pop Warner families and alumni who grew up with the program.

But, rather than being down-and-out, with true Pop Warner spirit, Torrey Pines local Pop Warner families went to work to solicit support from retired NFL players, civic and business leaders and residents in a drive to ensure that there would be a 2019 season.

They earned support for their efforts from Torrey Pines alum John Lynch, the former NFL pro and the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers who responded, “When I think how good football has been to me and my family, my thoughts often turn to my formative years in the sport. For me, that was playing in Torrey Pines Pop Warner. Some of the many tangible lessons that I was able to learn so well through the sport of football were first introduced to me at Torrey Pines Pop Warner.”

Ty Gaffney, a twice-over NFL Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, who starred at the areas Cathedral Catholic H.S. and later at Stanford, also got behind the move to restore Torrey Pines Pop Warner. And, with a board that included President John Principi, a TPHS alum, longtime coach and Torrey Pines H.S. Football backer, the drive for new enrollment got underway last spring. Soon, Pop Warner’s new Age-Based Division gave a much need reboot to Torrey Pines Pop Warner.

As Falcons 12U Coach Brian and his amazing staff of assistant coaches told us, “By spring of this year, we had 28 players sign-up for our Torrey Pines Falcons 12U team. And, here’s the thing. 17 of those 28 layers had never played tackle football before. But, they were enthusiastic. We told their parents, ‘If we go 5-5 this first year, that will be a good and successful season.“

Well, guess what? The Torrey Pines Falcons 12U's roll through the 2019 season undefeated, and became champions of the Pop Warner Palomar Division. And, currently, with their 18-0 opening round victory yesterday over the Southwest Colts, by my count that gives the Falcons victory number 12 for this 2019 season. In a word, WOW!

Check out Highlights of their first-round game against the Southwest Colts

Much more to the inspiring stories of “First-Timers” in the Pop Warner Age-Based Division competition at Pop Warner Super Bowl 63; and, we’ll have it covered! Look for it all as we follow the fortunes of Proviso Bills, the Torrey Pines Falcons, and other fabulous Pop Warner Football “First-Timers” as they play-on in Wednesday’s Age-Based Division semi-finals, here at ESPN Wide World of Sports!

Beginning in 2019, Pop Warner now offers TWO options for tackle football programs:

Option 1: Traditional age/weight schematic provides a uniform series of three basic years of age qualification for each level of play, with a fourth year of eligibility falling under more stringent weight restrictions (the “older/lighter” player).

Option 2: the age based schematic provides a 2 year age span starting with 5/6 yr. olds. and no minimum or maximum weights.
** 2 point stance for offense and defensive linemen must be used in the following levels of play: TM, MM, JP, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10.
** No kickoffs permitted in the following levels: TM, MM, JP, PW, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10.


Many folks out there have been wondering for years just which Pop Warner Associations have tallied the most national championships over the course of modern record-keeping. Well, ask and ye shall receive!

(Virginia Beach Mustangs - VA)
Over the past seven years, the Virginia Beach Mustangs D-I Jr. Pee and Pee Wee teams have a total of 5 national championships.

(Northwest Raiders – PA)
From 2014-2017, the Northwest Raiders (PA) set a Pop Warner record with four-straight titles.

(Oak Grove Roughriders- CA)
But, the kingpin of them all goes to the legendary teams from Oak Grove in San Jose, CA. Combining all levels of play in D-I Pop Warner Football, Oak Grove teams racked up a whopping 14 Pop Warner Championships- 8 sole division national championships and 6 split-division championships (Warner and Tomlin Division) over a span of 19 years (1987-2006).

One of the top coaches from Oak Grove was Mike Tyrell, Head Coach of the Oak Grove Roughriders D-! Midgets. At one point, Coach Tyrell’s Roughriders compiled a record of 150-8 with 4 of Oak Grove’s Pop Warner National Championships.

And now? Well, with 3 national titles to his credit, VA Beach Mustangs Head Coach Bruce Pearl is currently challenging the coaching portion of the Pop Warner Super Bowl record.

Yep, for those who love stats, and the stories that generate them, the history of Pop Warner Super Bowls has loads of great mileposts to consider.

Mighty Orphans & Awesome Zombies - Youth Football Hits Hollywood!

FIELD NOTES / December 7, 2019

From the amazing true of a rising-star young coach who gave it all up to go and coach-up a rag-tag group of orphans from a Dust Bowl era group-home into a legendary powerhouse that dominated Texas youth football in the 1930a and 40s, to a Disney Channel hit musical featuring rehabilitated, team conscious, and awesomely talented “Zombie” high school football players, “Pop Warner Super Bowl 63” week salutes the progress of two new movie productions that are already causing buzz in Pop Warner circles, in Hollywood, and all around the country.

MIGHTY ORPHANS RULE! Having just completed principal photography outside Ft. Worth, Texas, “12 Mighty Orphans”, the true saga of Coach Harvey Nual “Rusty” Russell, originator of football’s “Spread Offense” and his tough, never-say-die, rag-tag team of players with mismatched uniforms from the Masonic Home for Orphans in Waco TX is simply amazing.

Based of Texas’s best-selling journalist Jim Dent’s terrific book of the same name, ’12 MIGHTY ORPHANS” follows the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a group of hard-luck kids and a coach who believed that, together, they could meet any challenge that football and life threw at them, is one of the great David vs. Goliath stories of the modern era.

Featuring an all-star cast that includes Luke Wilson (as Rusty Russell), Martin Sheen, Robert Duval, and an instant-audience-appeal group of young actors sure to be a box office draw, this “football & life” film looks to be an odds-on winner! Set for release on Thanksgiving weekend 2020, “12 Mighty Orphans “ and its timeless story will serve to mirror what Joe Tomlin and Coach “Pop” Warner were creating at the same time (1929-1940), 1,500 miles away in North Philadelphia. Philadelphia.

ZOMBIES DANCE! Bringing it all close to home this week, cameras, crew and a supporting cast for ZOMBIES II, the next installment of the hit Disney Channel musical, will be filming a segment right here at ESPN Wide World of Sports between Pop Warner championship games on Friday afternoon. The uniquely appealing ZOMBIES I, released last year, already has a huge following among Pop Warner fans.

Based on the book Zombies & Cheerleaders by David Light and Joseph Raso, and staring Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly, playing zombie football player Zed and human cheerleader Addison who meet and fall in love, ZOMBIES follows the pair as they work against the odds, leading their respective groups to coexist with each other. While ZOMBIES I focused on the Cheer portion of the story, ZOMBIES II is rumored to now focus on the combined football fortunes of the same cast.

And, here’s the thing, on Friday afternoon the stands at Field 17 on the ESPN Wide World of sports Complex will be filled with fans participating along with a supporting cast , and even a marching band, to shoot a segment of ZOMBIES II (with the completed film also set for release in 2020).

Yep, Pop Warner has inspired Hollywood interest anew in youth football and both the inspirational, and downright fun, aspects of this great game ; with many of its opportunities for teamwork lessons and personal growth born in a time of uncertainty and need for so many Americans.

So, come on out and be part of the fun, the dream, and the continuing legacy of youth football coached and played the right way all week at Pop Warner Super Bowl 63!

MILEPOSTS AND MAGIC: The Pop Warner Legacy Rolls On!

FIELD NOTES / December 7, 2019

Hi Folks! Bob Field here again welcoming you to another great week of coverage from the Pop Warner Super Bowl. Would you believe it’s Pop Warner Super Bowl # 63? Wow!

You know, going into this “Super 63” week, I’ve been thinking about how 2019 marks not only mileposts in Pop Warner history, but also the alliance between Pop Warner, Disney and ESPN that continues to generate magical moments galore for tens of thousands of kids and families, not only across the country, but also across much of the world.

Where did it all begin? Well, Milepost # 1 takes us back to the year “1929” and a time of uncertainty and tribulation the like of which 20th America had not seen. Good ideas for some that grow to become the fulfillment of dreams for many often begin in times of need. And, 1929 was just such a time. That was the year that Joe Tomlin, a businessman from Northeast Philadelphia, came up with a really “good idea”.

Less than a month after the stock market crash that plunged America into the Great Depression and a decade known as the “Dirty 30’s”, Joe T. wanted to create an opportunity for teens around the city that would afford them the opportunity to play a sport they loved while still staying in school, staying out of trouble, and preparing themselves for a solid future.

That idea took form as the Philadelphia Youth Football League, and it caught on right away. The combination of football and scholastics met not only a need in times of uncertainty, but it started a dream for young men of taking charge of their lives during tough times.

Soon, Temple University’s famed football coach Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner, an innovator himself, embraced Tomlin’s program, gave of his time and mentorship free of charge to the league, and the name we know today became firmly affixed to the organization as “Pop Warner Football”.

While WWII interrupted the growth of Pop Warner Football, by the 1946, Tomlin’s “good idea” burst onto the scene again; this time with appeal and opportunities for even younger players. Local and soon after that regional Pop Warner Little Scholars programs grew rapidly through the 1950s. Then, came the “Magic”, with a capital “M”. America’s master storyteller, Mr. Walt Disney, loved the fun and the message of Pop Warner Football. In 1959, he sponsored the first Disneyland Bowl for Pop Warner.

Shortly thereafter, Disney produced the popular film starring Kevin Corcoran entitled MOOCHIE OF POP WARNER.

Here’s a fun and action-packed moment from that now classic film:

As Pop Warner Football continued to grow, along with Pop Warner Cheer and later Dance, the close ties with Disney and then ESPN grew as well.

And, now…”2019” marks the 25th annual pilgrimage of Pop Warner teams, squads and families from all over North America, Mexico, Central America and often Europe to THE place where “dreams come true”, Disney World and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Yep, funny how “good ideas” that help to meet the needs of some, can become GREAT ideas that fulfill the “dreams” of many. Hats off to the legacy of Joe Tomlin, Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner, and the thousands and thousands of volunteers, coaches, teachers, and kids that continue to make Pop Warner the gold standard of youth sports and learning.

And a special thanks to the “magical” legacy of Walt Disney who taught us all, including Pop Warner families, that “When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true!”

The Bus Driver Leads The Way For Pop Warner

Milton Steelers Varsity Coach Tim Lester is a guy who knows, front and center, the value of commitment to team. For years, Tim Lester and Jerome Bettis were a powerhouse tandem in the vaunted ground attack of the Pittsburgh Steelers While Jerome “The Bus“ Bettis rumbled to an NFL Hall of Fame career, it was hard-nosed blocking back Tim “The Bus Driver” Lester who led the way.

Today, the Pop Warner D-1 Milton Steelers Varsity players and coaches are the recipients of Coach Tim Lester’s commitment to team, on and off the field. Although one of the smaller programs in Atlanta, Georgia area. Pop Warner’s Milton Steelers know that they’re getting plenty of BIG time wisdom, insights, and life enriching perspectives from Tim Lester.

Coach Tim practices what he preaches, for as he sees it,” Coaches are expected to lead by example in both words and actions, on and off the football field. And, in order for players to be successful in all aspects of life, coaches need to help them find a good balance. We need to teach through example; be competitive but fair, aggressive but respectful, and tough but compassionate.”

Fairness, respect and compassion are at the foundation of the “balance in life” that Tim Lester is now imparting to his Milton Steelers in projects off the field, as well as on. Ironically, where “The Bus Driver” once specialized in making holes for Jerome Bettis to run through, he now specializes in filling holes in the lives of people who face tough challenges everyday.

Twenty years ago, Tim “The Bus Driver” Lester was awarded the NFL’s “Unsung Hero” for his community service to youth. Since then, he has helped over five hundred under-privileged youths with football camps, back-to-school events, and programs to help feed the needy during Thanksgiving.

And, this year, Coach Tim has his players and coaches working with the “Helping Hand Project” reaching out to young people thousands of miles away. The Helping Hand Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating prosthetic devices for children in need. Through “Helping Hand,” the Milford Steelers are assembling working prosthetics for kids in Third World countries who were either born without a hand, or have suffered a severe injury.

“Most of us take our hands for granted”, says Coach Tim.” But, when you need them to complete daily tasks like gripping, lifting and moving objects, a prosthetic hand for someone who is missing one, can help to improve their daily lives greatly and give them newfound confidence.”

Teaching Pop Warner scholar/athletes the value of “team commitment” to making communities stronger continues to be a major goal for Tim Lester.

Through involvement with the “Toys for Tots” program to help provide toys to over 5,000 kids living in public housing and visiting schools around the country, especially those for at-risk kids, speaking on the value of an education, Tim continues to lead by example.

Yes, for Milford, GA and all of Pop Warner, Tim “The Bus Driver” Lester, continues to lead the way on a journey of growth for better living and “team commitment” far and wide.

And, if you’d like to know more about the Helping Hands Project, and some of the amazing work done by this amazing organization, check out this CBS News story.

And, here’s are links to their websites:

Pop Warner NFL Mascot Game

2018 Pop Warner Super Bowl Blog

Navy Strong For Pop Warner”

When Terry Clark - Commissioner of Southeast Virginia Pop Warner told me about a super guy down here this week who exemplifies service to us all on the sea, on the land and on the gridiron, I was intrigued. Then, when I met that super guy I was even more intrigued.

He’s Kenneth Strong, a member of the outstanding teams of officials who keep every one of our Pop Warner football games rolling long in good order. Not only is Ken Strong from Virginia Beach a top Pop Warner Football official, he is also LCPO Kenneth Strong serving his 21st year of active duty with the United States Navy.

As a LCPO (that’s “Leading Chief Petty Officer” in Navy lingo) Kenneth Strong is the "go-to person" for his division team …in this case Assault Craft Unit TWO stationed at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, VA.

ACU-2's force consists of Landing Craft Utility boats (LCU), Landing Craft Mechanized Mark 8 boats (LCM) and Maritime Prepositioning Force Utility Boats (MPFUB). 

Yet, with all that leadership responsibility, LCPO Kenneth Strong still finds time to devote time and expertise to yet another great team…the Pop Warner players and coaches in Southeastern Virginia Pop Warner Conference.

For five years, Ken Strong has referee’ed Pop Warner Football games in Norfolk , Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Churchland, and he absolutely loves it.

“The thing I like most about Pop Warner,” says Ken, “is the family atmosphere. And, Pop Warner Football, Cheer and Dance is truly a family. Every practice, every game, every activity gives kids a chance to learn, and put into practice, the importance of teamwork and personal commitment.”

Judging by the smile that lights up his face every time Ken talks about the Pop Warner family experience, you can tell that Kenneth Strong is a guy who sees the true value of service to friends and community mirrored in the lessons young people learn through participation in the best youth sport organization in America.

Thanks to Navy LCPO Kenneth Strong for his service to America and his commitment to Southeastern Virginia Conference. It’s definitely Navy Strong for Pop Warner!

Welcome To Pop Warner Super Bowl - 2018

62”- What’s New?

In a word…”PLENTY!” The 62nd Pop Warner Super Bowl, the 22nd annual at fabulous ESPN Wide World of Sports, kicked off Saturday in fine form with the traditional Mitey Mite Bowl and plenty of spirited Mitey Mite Cheer and Dance at the HP Field House. Yet, with plenty of new, first-time-ever squads in attendance, “62”served notice, from the opening whistle, that we’d be in for plenty of new excitement, thrills, and fun all week long.

A big part of that fun took place last evening in ESPN Wide World of Sports complex’s brand new center of excitement…The Arena - a 300,000 square foot, 8,000 seat venue and loads and loads of practice , performance and competition spaces for cheerleading, dance, basketball and more. The Arena presents Pop Warner with all sorts of all-weather opportunities for practice, performance and celebration for years to come.

And , Saturday evening, Mitey Mites Bowl teams and squads, coaches, families and friends had a whale of a celebration-party hosted in The Arena. Talk about thrills! The Mitey Mites had loads of fun with Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, a super D.J., plus games, music, dancing, food…and lots and lots of room to do their thing!

Today, as dawn spread across the ESPN Complex, a whole new chapter in Pop Warner lore was set to begin. Warm trade winds, billowing clouds, and clear skies seemed to harken the days of Florida yore when adventure, discovery and the hunt for treasure was a constant. And, today Pop Warner D-2 teams, including the vaunted North Philly Aztec “Swagboyz” , set sail across the green fields of ESPN Wide World of Sports in search of another sort of treasure…a Pop Warner National Championship.

With those bright new blue seats in the spectator galleries at Field 17 mirroring the blue skies above, and many games being available for all to see in live streaming through our website, what’s new for “62” gave notice of a week of special competition, brand new friendships, good connections and loads of good Pop Warner memories that’ll be treasured for a lifetime!

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