By: Isaiah Showell, Follow South Jersey Multimedia Journalist/’What’s Good’ Host
MILLVILLE, N.J. — Millville’s Police Athletic League (PAL) uses sports to make meaningful, impactful connections with the community. Sgt. Richard Kott of the Millville Police Department runs the league, and other community leaders get involved by coaching the individual teams who participate.
One of those leaders is JT Burks, a community activist who founded a nonprofit called Positive Vibes Community Group. Burks’ title changes to “Coach” when he leads his Millville Raiders out to play in the PAL.
“Oh man, it’s very competitive. A lot of people think it’s so different from contact football and they don’t think it’s as competitive,” Burks said. “But once you get out here and see the kids get on the field, they go just as hard as contact football. If you’ve never been, you want to get out and see it and see how the kids go just as hard.”
The broader objective of the PAL is to build a bridge between the police and community. For the players in the league, however, their main goal is to show off their athletic ability and stay active whenever they get the chance to play football, and all children in the community are welcome to join in on the fun.
“I like that we pass the ball around a lot. Everybody gets a chance to score a touchdown and get a pick and stuff,” Christian Baston, the quarterback and safety for the Millville Raiders, said. “I throw it with accuracy. I throw it somewhere where [the receivers] can catch it.”
“I just want to do this because sometimes, a lot of people say that boys are more stronger than girls,” Raiders linebacker Ja’Ziyah Goolsby added. “I just want to say that all girls can be capable of what boys can do, too.”
If you want to check out some of the flag football action for yourself, you can visit the Millville Gardens at 6 p.m. on Thursdays. You can also find more information about the Millville Police Athletic League on its Facebook page.
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