by Dave Delgado
9-year-old Joshua Cote is limited to touching the ball only five times an entire game, when his position calls for him to touch the ball every play. Putting a restriction on kids playing time and amount of effort he can put into a game is definitely uncalled for.
Joshua plays football for the Southern Cowboys in the Guam Youth Football League and is a quarterback/running back. His on field abilities are now a disadvantage to him because he is so productive and is now playing with special rules that don't make sense at all. His father Derrick said, "Well, the first ruling is that we found out that the league originally wanted to take him off the Mighty Mites and move him up to the PeeWee Division. When Josh first found out about it he was petrified and was scared he actually threatened to quit.
"He doesn't have the confidence to play with the kids that size; again, he is only 9 years old and is 65 pounds. He did play when he was 7, but there's no experience there when he was 7. He was 47 pounds when he was 7 and he really didn't play that much. It's important that he gains the confidence and it was frustrating to us when they said they were going to bump him up to the Pee Wee Division because we want to see him have fun and we want to see him play. He has built bonds with his teammates now and to remove him from those bonds that he has built and from the team he has established with for the last 4 games and they only have 2 left that would be detrimental to the kids and not just him but to his teammates."
When asked why he thought such action was being taken against him, Josh told KUAM Sports, "I think that they are doing to me because I'm too good and they think we lied about my age and I'm very mad that this woman and I may not play." He said he didn't enjoy himself as he normally would during the course of a game, adding, "I did not have fun because I did not get the ball as much as I did every other game."
With only two games left in the regular season, Joshua and his parents are left wondering if these new rules set in place will carry on. Josh should be able to play and have fun contributing to his team's success and enjoy the sport he loves.
"The second ruling was initially five carries," he father added, "That was what we were told by the league commissioner and then the next day when it got to the game it had already started and Joshua plays quarterback. Somehow it got interpreted into five touches. Well, as a quarterback, you touch the ball every play. So it wasn't until three snaps of the ball to where he already used three of his touches we didn't realize that it was touches until then not carries. To limit a kid to five touches in a game where he touches the ball every play is you're asking a kid to give 50% during a game, when as a coach and parents you should be asking these kids to give 110% every time they step onto that field and you can't ask a kid to give any less than that.
"Joshua steps onto the field and gives 120% every time he steps on that field and he wears his heart on his shoulder which is why he is so emotional about the whole thing and I think it's injustice to the kids. Every time I'm driving to a game it feels like something is in my stomach, I don't know what it is I think I'm nervous."
Still, Josh relies on the support of his teammates. He said, "They're like, 'Come on man, let's do this!', saying all these different things always counting on me." Tearing up, he said such a strain on tough on the games he loves so much.
"When I get a touchdown and I hear all the people screaming, saying, 'Go Josh!'"