Jill Kobelak – President’s Message

Our President, Jill Kobelak has addressed the current situation of the Calgary Falcons and the main events leading up to it;

The Calgary Falcons Football Association has proudly served its undersized territory for 15 years, and in the process, has complied with all rules and regulations set out by all Leagues of Calgary minor football, including the Calgary Bantam Football Association (CBFA) and the Calgary Spring Football Association (CSFA – formerly known as CAMFA, the Calgary and Area Midget Football Association).

We are a non-profit board, comprised of our four Falcon Head Coaches (Atom, PeeWee, Bantam and Midget/Spring) and at least four parents.  This formula was intentionally set so that our discussions would fairly represent the positions of the parents and the League in a balanced way.  Unfortunately, the four Leagues do not share our opinion that parental input matters.  The Board of Directors for each of the four Leagues is made up of representatives (mostly former staff) of the Clubs whom they favour, a select list on which the Falcons have never had the privilege of seeing its name.  Worse, the Leagues do not acknowledge the existence of any Parent Association:  they will only communicate through the Head Coach for each Club team, and they make it quite clear to those Head Coaches that their allegiance is to be to the League, not to the team for which they offer up their skills.  This has always struck me as an impossible working situation for any Club whose Parent Association includes Head Coaches among its Directors, because it puts each Head Coach between a rock and a hard place.  So long as the League’s best interests dovetail with your Club’s best interests, no problem.  But what if the League’s future plans conflict with your Club’s very existence?  What then?

This dilemma has plagued the Falcons’ Club from the very beginning, but it came to a point of no return in February 2017 when the CBFA announced that it was taking away our territory for the upcoming fall season.   This was an unprecedented move, one that had the effect of ripping out our Club’s heart and waiting to see if the body could still survive.  No other Bantam teams were affected – just Falcons.  No details were available on the CBFA website, and our Bantam Head Coach was equally in the dark.  His repeated requests for a private audience with the CBFA president to discuss the matter were repeatedly postponed over the next 10 weeks, whereupon he was constructively dismissed at the CBFA AGM for not turning in his signed Declaration of allegiance to the CBFA.   The CBFA also ignored our Association’s requests for a Board-to-Board meeting to discuss a less draconian way to achieve their future plans. 

We consulted with our membership (the Falcon parents) to ask for direction because we are aware that – as a non profit Board – our powers are limited to educating and advising you about threats that arise on the horizon.  These threats are matters beyond the scope of the day-to-day operations that you entrust us to handle, so we do not act without your instructions.   You asked us to fight the CBFA’s expropriation of our territory and we did what we could.  We soon learned that the CBFA is accountable to no one, and as a result, there is no recourse other than to keep trying.   What appeared a year ago to be support of the other three Leagues all but dried up the day that the CSFA decided to merge our Falcon Midgets into Bulldog Midgets rather than choosing a migration the other way around.  The Falcons were clearly the better equipped team to absorb the Bulldog players:  convenient practice venues, quality staffing, and ample tackle equipment that your fundraising efforts purchased.  The Atom League and the PeeWee League (CPFA) have since advised that – at least for the upcoming fall season 2018 – they too will be adopting the newly revised CBFA map which excludes a Falcons’ Club.  To their credit, the CPFA was the only League to put in writing the possibility of reviewing a future that includes Falcons’ Club participation once the 2018 season is finished. 

Believe me when I say that the decade I have volunteered for the Falcons has created for me both some of my happiest memories and some of my ugliest moments.  Whether or not the Falcons’ Club survives beyond July 4, 2018 there is some serious restructuring to be addressed in the Calgary Minor Tackle Football arena.  More League transparency, accountability and consultation from its grass roots is required if the growth of tackle football in this city is truly their aim.

To communicate with Jill directly and anonymously, please use the Feedback line at the bottom of the Contact Us page.