Last year they made it to the finals, but this year the Pop Warner football team coached by Luther “Luke Skyywalker” Campbell — eroti-rapping 2 Live Crew honcho (“Me So Horny,” “We Want Some Pussy” and “Throw the D.”), free speech activist, purveyor of Luke’s Freakshow — won the national championship and the party was on in Liberty City!
The annual Pop Warner Super Bowl brings together the top teams from four age/weight divisions: Jr. Pee Wee, Pee Wee, Jr. Midget and Midget, in two divisions. Thirty-two teams from each division from eight Pop Warner regions around the country take part in the National Championships each year. The championship games take place over 6 days in December, with the Division 1 Midget Championship game featured on ESPN and EPSN2 during Super Bowl Week in January.
Campbell’s Jr. Midget (11-13 year olds) Division 1 team, the Liberty City Warriors, beat the Cedar Crest Comets from San Antonio rather handily 33-0 to take the title.
Campbell, who founded the team 16 years ago, returned to coaching after a long hiatus two years ago. “I decided to come back to coaching because I wanted to set an example,” said Campbell, who stresses academic performance — Warriors player are required to beat the Pop Warner “C” average requirement — and one-on-one attention for the kids who play for his team.
The team’s large coaching staff (Campbell employs the league maximum of 10, including a full range of position coaches) means more personal attention for the players. “I think the kids should get the same kind of attention we ask the schools to give with smaller class sizes,” said Campbell. “I took the same approach with the team.”
The young players, most of whom live in the immediate area, practice four times a week at Charles Hadley Park in Liberty City. “When I was a kid they used to bus us to Miami Beach to play football,” said Campbell, explaining how he became interested in Pop Warner football. “I always said that when I made some money, I wanted to start a program right in my own community similar to what we were experiencing on Miami Beach: organized football where kids get to play and to experience the game the way it was meant to be taught.
“Well, I made some money, and so I decided to sponsor a team. And I went back and got the guys who used to get bussed out to the Beach with me to come back and coach,” he said. Now that he’s gone from sponsoring to coaching himself, Campbell says his participation in Pop Warner is even more rewarding.
Campbell’s next venture will be to bring together other celebrities involved in Pop Warner Football for a showcase game in January. “People have been asking when my team is gonna play Snoop’s team. Well, we’ll have that answer for them next month.”
People are very complicated.