Football for the WIN

by Elijah Costo and Zach Rhein, Sports Contributor and Sports Editor
photo contributed by Lucas Rishikof

While most students use WIN blocks as an excuse to take midday naps, a group of dedicated seniors decided to take advantage of the newly-instated blocks to practice a beloved American sport: football. Last fall, 30 seniors founded the Robinson Monarchal Avocational Football League (RMAFL), a four-team touch football league in history teacher and League Commissioner Lillian Robinson’s WIN blocks.

“At the end of the day, it was so nice out. I decided we are going to go outside every week, because I did not really want to be inside for WIN blocks,” she said. “My students who signed up, who are mostly my previous students, decided that they were going to start this football league.”

It can be hard to keep kids in a classroom during any WIN, but especially during WIN 2s, the last block of the day on Thursdays. With RMAFL, Robinson has been able to keep 30 kids in school who might otherwise take the opportunity to leave early.

Students went so far as to create a petition to remove a history department meeting from WIN 2 this fall to continue the league. Although Robinson did not say whether she supported the league’s petition itself, she said she is glad that RMAFL has created a community that has encouraged kids to stay in school at the end of the day. 

“If [the administration] wants options for kids to take so that they stay in the WIN block, this is a really good option,” she said. 

Senior Zack Matzkin said that while the league keeps a fun, relaxing demeanor, it also maintains a competitive edge.

“You have a team to fight for, being a number-one receiver or a number-one cornerback on your team. It adds competitiveness into the game that we are all craving,” he said.

The league has evolved in the past year with a draft, trades, petitions and a winner’s trophy. Last year, Nick Canter and the Sand Cats won the trophy, and it is displayed in Canter’s backyard.

Matzkin said that the league’s four teams each have their own style of play. 

“My team personally, we have like four coaches. We’ve got a [student] general manager. Sure, he doesn’t do anything, but we’ve got one,” he said.

Senior Adam Cohen said that the league’s growth has opened opportunities for interesting new roles for members.

“The league has developed so much since its existence. We have lawyers now. We have a board of officials,” he said.

RMAFL started as solely a fall affair, fittingly in the heat of the football season nationwide. League co-founder Lucas Rishikoff said that he hopes to expand RMAFL’s season this coming year. 

“My hopes are for RMAFL to spread and prosper into the spring time and kind of go out with a bang — a ‘last ride’ type of thing,” he said. 

While RMAFL is known for its great community, the league has had to contend with not being allowed to expand due to reaching its maximum capacity. As a result, many seniors who were hoping to join the league have been unable to take part in the league.

Robinson said that while she would like to continue expanding, a lack of resources makes it difficult to be able to include everyone in one of the most popular clubs at South.

“We already have 30 people a week going to WIN, and it’s just too many. If we added more, it wouldd be too many people for one adult to supervise, and that was a big decision,” she said. “I think it’s true. I think it’s unfair for an adult to watch 45 kids.”

If the club’s popularity is any indication of its impacts on the people in it, it is obvious that RMAFL has had a positive effect on all of the league’s members, from team captain to team lawyer.