John Dunivan, South Bryan County Recreation U10 Wildcat coach and Full Potential Football advocate, talks about his work with youth.
Q: What is your involvement with South Bryan County Rec?
A: I began coaching youth football at the Rec seven years ago when my oldest started playing football. I am the current U10 Wildcat Head Coach.
Q: How did you come into contact with Gina and Phil Jablonski?
A: My first contact with Phil and Gina came about when they moved here and Phil began coaching at the recreation department. My oldest son was on Phil’s U12 2013 state championship team. It was during that year when I became good friends with the Jablonski family.
Q: What has been your involvement with Full Potential Football?
A: I have donated three pairs of cleats and two sets of shoulder pads. I have received one pair of cleats and a set of shoulder pads for my 9-year-old son.
Q: How do you feel this will aid in athletics in South Bryan County Rec?
A: While most people would see something like this just for underprivileged families, that is not the sole intent. Take my family, for instance. I have one child playing middle school football and the other playing recreation football. While there are no registration fees for middle school sports, I still have to buy his equipment. Then I have to pay for the rec registration fees, shoulder pads, cleats and pants for my 9-year-old. Throw in all the back-to-school supplies and clothes, and the amounts start to add up. Full Potential Football helped take a little of that expense off our shoulders.
Q: What would you like the community to know about the importance of properly fitting equipment?
A: The equipment is designed to protect the person wearing it. That design relies on the fact that certain criteria are met. If a child has loose-fitting shoulder pads or they are too small, it is quite easy to break a collar bone. Or if their shoes are too loose, you lose the stability and support of the shoe, which could lead to more injuries.
Q: How does football mold these young athletes for the future?
A: Sports — not just football — helps teach young athletes lessons that they can take with them throughout their adult life — lessons such as fair play and teamwork. In my professional life, I am but one member of a larger team. I cannot do everything myself and, therefore, I must rely on the other members of my team to get the mission accomplished. Sports teaches these young athletes those lessons at an early age and will help them when they become adults.
Q: What role can the community of Richmond Hill play in rec sports and Full Potential Football?
A: The community plays a huge part (in) the rec. Without their support, there would not be a recreation program. Walk along the fields, and you will see sponsorship banners from local businesses. These are not the big-box corporations you see in Savannah; these are our friends and neighbors helping one another out. I have talked with many parents who say they moved here after researching the recreation athletics and what they can offer their children.
The community is full of people whose sons and daughters have played sports. We all have sports equipment lying around the house collecting dust. Or we try and sell it at yard sales for minimal return on the cost of the equipment. By donating that equipment to the foundation, the return is far greater than any monetary sum. The knowledge that you are helping a young athlete gain life lessons that they will carry with them for the rest of their life is priceless.