By Randy Dela Cruz, Ho'okele Sports Editor
Mike Todd, a military veteran and current Department of Defense civilian at Joint Intelligence Operation Center, agrees with many of Hawaii’s military personnel that flag football should be held all year long.
Todd, who regularly participates in Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s intramural sports on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, said that while he enjoys the variety of sports held on base by MWR, he recognizes that many of Sailor and Airmen have football on their minds.
“Guys want to play football all year round,” Todd said. “If they want it, why can’t they get it?”
With the thought of football going on for 12 months, instead of just a season, Todd plucked down his own hard-earned cash and bought a league of his own.
On Jan. 25, Hawaii’s Finest Flag Football (HFFF) kicks off with a full slate of the games at 10 Acres Field in Mililani. Todd said that he expects around 30 teams for the coming season and that the player-friendly league is open to civilians and all members of the armed forces.
“What makes us different is that this is a true players’ league,” Todd pointed out. “If they (players) have good ideas, they bring it to me and I incorporate them. The league is for the players by the players.”
On his website, www.hawaiis finestflagfootba.com, Todd states that the league is the most structured adult flag football league in the islands.
“We got OIA (Oahu Inters cholastic Association) refs, we’ll have tents provided for your shade, we bring water, we have scoreboards, we keep stats and we’ve got the fields,” he said.
Todd said that he would also offer incentives for teams that play in the HFFF.
Champions of the season will earn free enrollment, while second-place finishers will get $150 off with thirdand fourth-place squads also getting a discount.
“And finally, we won’t do trophies. We do title belts.”
The league, Todd said, is also a very good way to bridge cultural differences between military and local communities.
“What I’m trying to do is bring the military guys together with the local boys,” stated Todd, who is a longtime resident of the islands.
Cy Collen, who will be going to the officer’s training school for the Hawaii Air National Guard in the summer, signed up a mixed team of military and civilian players to participate in the upcoming season.
Collen, who is currently an eighth-grade teacher at St. Joseph School in Waipahu, said that he has been a part of the league for four years and loves the format.
“I like the competition, and the rules is a lot different than a couple of other leagues that I’ve played in,” he said. “The other leagues is like if it’s a set rule, that’s it. Here we have a say in it.”
Although this will be Todd’s first season as owner and league commissioner, he is already thinking about ways to expand the league.
Getting the men’s season off the ground is job one right now, but he is also thinking of getting the women on board with a season of their own.
“I love the game,” he said. “I want to make sure that everyone has something.”