For as long as I can remember, August 1 has had a special meaning for youth football players, marking the beginning of a new year of Pop Warner football.

For many players, it's a day they love to hate. The first weeks of the season can seem like they feature more conditioning than football for the players. As coaches, we always tell our players to stick with it through August and they will love September when the games start, but there will be no August this year for Pop Warner players and cheerleaders this year.

Those August sweat fests have gone the way of so many other fun American traditions this year.

The Rhode Island Southeastern Massachusetts Association, the league that is comprised of most of the SouthCoast's Pop Warner football organizations, has decided to punt the start date for football to September 1.

RISMA made the announcement on its Facebook page yesterday afternoon.

"The safety of our athletes, families and volunteers will always remain our number one priority. We will continue to monitor the national, state and local guidance as we discuss the next steps," the post read.

In a note to parents and players, Old Rochester Youth Football and Cheer President Marissa Johnson said, "As an organization, this extra time will allow us to get more clarity on the state guidelines and get confirmation on field/gym availability."

Johnson also indicated that the decision about how high school fall sports will be handled will "greatly impact our season."

RISMA encouraged parents to reach out to their member associations if they have any questions or comments about the decision.

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