The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 13 No. 10 - December 19, 2012


Tis the football and volleyball seasons

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Mackenzie Kosfeld, of the Lobstah’s team, practicing
her block for the upcoming adult co-ed volleyball
league at the Community Center.

The winter island sports season is upon us, and among the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, visions of touchdowns dance in heads. The Anna Maria Island Community Center formed 37 NFL Flag Football teams last week.

Boys and girls, men and women of ages five and up were drafted into leagues that were separated by age groups. The NFL Flag Football program was first introduced as a kids’ sport to the Island in 2006. The Center then added the adult program in 2009, and now is the largest program it offers. This year, 265 players will get their football fix on the Island. Forming the leagues are 14 adult teams, 6 14-17-year-old teams, 7 11-13-year-old teams, 8 8-10-year-old teams and 2 5-7-year-old teams. This totals 164 children ages 5 to 17 and 101 adult players.

The Center’s athletic department is extremely busy. In addition to the NFL flag football teams, the Center also drafted four teams in the adult co-ed volleyball league. Men and women age 18 and up will play on Tuesday nights in the Center gym.

Forty-one total teams in both flag football and volleyball began practicing last week for the regular season to begin the first week in January. The seasons officially get underway on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, with the kick-off the season dinner and uniform handout. The dinner begins at 6:30.

The Beach Bistro and Eat Here donate the food for the league’s annual event. A complete meal and drink goes for $6, for a child 17 and under, and $7 for over 17. This is an important league fundraiser for a league of this size and everyone, in the Community is welcome to attend and takeout is available.

Games will begin on Thursday Jan. 3, running nightly and on Saturdays. The season will conclude in March with a playoff format and Super Bowl game for the majority of the leagues. With all these teams getting ready for the kickoff of the 2013 football season, Santa is sure to be filling lots of stockings with holiday gear.


Good news at Senior Games

As I write this, yet another tragedy is breaking about someone murdering children at an elementary school. Oddly enough, I didn’t even know about it until I posted a shopping-on-a-budget video on my book’s Facebook page and a commenter wrote, “How can we talk about shopping with this insanity going on?”

I had intended to write about my experience at the Florida International Senior Games last weekend. (Yes, there were athletes from outside the U.S.) I figure the media will be filled with stories about this horrible shooting and others from the past. But I only get about 200 words here, so I’m going to try and write a positive story about a positive experience I recently had.

I really believe that we must return to some kind of back to basics – working in gardens as families, connecting with the earth and animals, eating healthy foods, exercising and pulling away from the distractions that keep us from connecting to our basic, good core values.

As I wrote last week, I stressed a little over competing in the state Florida International Senior Games. I qualified for the state games held in Winter Haven at local games held in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. My times were :06 slower than NCAA girls in 100 meters. Although I trained exclusively for the 100 meters, I signed up for three more races, the 200-, 400- and 1500-meter races, just hoping I might qualify for nationals in at least one of them.

In Winter Haven, on a beautiful rubber track, unlike any of the injury-inducing asphalt tracks in our area, the 100 meter race was the first event. I ran it in the same qualifying time I clocked six months ago: 20 seconds. We were paired in the various heats with competitors of all ages whose qualifying times were close to each others.’ That was to make it more competitive. So I had no idea until I went to the results table whether I placed or not.

Then I ran the 400 meters, then the 1500, which was almost a mile or thre and a half laps around the track. I had given myself permission to not run my final event if I felt spent. But even though it was hot and humid, I thought, “200 meters is only another half lap. I’ve run marathons. This is nothing.” So I did the 200 too. Not many other women ran as many events.

Much to my delight, I found that I placed third in state in my age group in the 200, 400 and 1500. The irony is that I placed higher in events I didn’t even train for. But it was all fun.

I received the most beautiful laser-engraved medals I’ve ever received at a race. I’ve placed in my five-year age group 28 times since 2008. I joke that at my age, 60, it is often about just showing up. The Senior Games is known in the serious endurance running community as not being competitive, at least at the local level. When I’ve competed in the local Sarasota/Bradenton games, I’ve often been the only woman in my age group. But that was definitely not the case at the state and national level. There were more than 300 athletes at Winter Haven.

I also placed fourth in state in the 100 meters. Placing in the top four spots in the state makes me eligible to compete in the National Senior Games in Cleveland this summer.

One of my private hire personal training clients, a wonderfully in shape senior, asked that I bring all of my medals so she could take a picture. She sweetly said she’s going to plaster my business cards all over her condominium complex. If this doesn’t get more clients, I don’t know what will. Gotta run!

You can follow Island resident Ellen Jaffe Jones on her Facebook page and keep up with her just released book:,"Eat Vegan on $4 a Day," or her website: She is also a nationally certified personal trainer and running coach. For training in a gym or private hire, contact Ellen at or 941-704-1025.

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