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Standing Tall: 4 decades of Midget Football
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Standing Tall: 4 decades of Midget Football

The 65th season of Wilson Parks and Recreation Department’s Midget Football program began Tuesday, continuing a tradition that was embraced by the city from the time the program started in 1949.

Beginning today is a three-part series that looks at the league that launched thousands of Wilson youngsters into the game of football and also provided a sound basis for experiencing sportsmanship, camaraderie and competition.

In 1949, more than 100 boys played for the four teams that were determined by residential districts — Park Avenue, Recreation Park, Maplewood and Five Points — in the bustling, little tobacco town. Those numbers either increased or stayed steady for a good four decades, a testament to the men who served as volunteer coaches contributed mightily to the enduring popularity of Midget Football and well as the Recreation Department itself.

The league format changed over the years, most abruptly in 1987 when the residential districts were dropped. While Midget Football, along with the Mighty Mite League for younger players, continues as a popular program at the Rec, the 38-year stretch from its inception in 1949 to the final year of district teams in 1986 served as a glory-filled chapter in the lives of many young Wilsonians.

Standing Tall: A look at 4 decades of Midget Football in Wilson
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