Last week the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort played host to the 2013 Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championships. Sixty-four football teams and more than 400 cheer and dance teams from across the country, including Hawaii, battled their way through regional competitions to experience their “I’m going to Disney World” moment and play for national titles.
In addition to the competition on the field and on the floor, more than 8,700 athletes and 2,000 coaches enjoyed the Pop Warner Celebration Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a Disney character breakfast, the opportunity to keep up with their studies at the OfficeMax Study Hall, and Disney sports recognized team moms at a Team Parent Information Session.
For 17 years, Pop Warner has called Disney home for Super Bowl week. It is the nation’s largest and oldest youth football, cheer and dance organization, and the only league that requires academic proficiency in order to participate. The NFL Players Association estimates roughly 70 percent of current NFL players, including Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, Maurice Jones-Drew, Adrian Peterson and Ray Lewis, got their starts playing Pop Warner.
Whether you were a player, cheerleader, dancer, coach or parent, it was a great week of competition, sportsmanship and celebration. Congratulations to all the Pop Warner youth athletes for making it to the big time.