As the whistle blows, kids begin warming up for a practice with the Gainesville Chiefs.
A husband and wife are already coaching them up: Cardovia and Randy Jackson are on a mission to create a new kind of youth program in Gainesville. She specializes in cheerleading, he in football; both are passionate about their pursuits.
“You get to groom them, and you see the progression in them as time goes on,” Cardovia Jackson said. “It’s amazing, it’s amazing and you feel good in the inside to know that you were able to help them.”
Some of the couple’s main goals include removing favoritism and politics from a youth program, incorporating a stronger focus on academics, and utilizing college program-caliberequipment. Randy Jackson said he’s setting his players up for life.
“A lot of people that have youth football and cheer programs,” he said, “but they’re practicing for Saturday, we’re training for a lifetime.”
The Jacksons’ players and cheerleaders are learning more than just how to be quick on their feet or making the game-winning catch; it’s not just about being good players, it’s about being good people, too.
“The game isn’t about wins and losses,” he said. “It’s about developing each child to their full potential.”
Registration for the next Gainesville Chiefs season will be at Eastside High School on March 4 from 1 p.m. until rosters are full. It’s for children ages 5 to 13.