We’re still several weeks away from finding out if anyone from the Washington Commanders will be going to the NFL Pro Bowl. But even if they’re shut out, the D.C. region will still be well represented there.
Last month, three Northern Virginia teams won their divisions in the Baltimore Ravens flag football regional tournament. Each NFL team hosts one and the winners get to go to Orlando to play for a national championship ahead of the Pro Bowl — the NFL’s All-Star Game on Feb. 4, 2024.
Among the winners was the 8U champions from the Stafford Rec League, which won the double-elimination tournament despite losing their second game.
“They’re all from Stafford. A lot of them are military families or were military families and now they’re retired,” said Shannon Robinson, who helps run the team off the field while her husband Dell coaches up the nine kids on the team. “But the kids are all special because they work really hard. They are hard workers. They are challenged because we push them really hard.”
She said they had high hopes going into the tournament.
“With their speed, with the height, and with the determination we were pretty confident because they’re the fastest kids in Stafford,” Robinson said.
Or, as her son Junior said, “our team is stacked.”
And players credit their parents for their success.
Three of the nine players are triplets: Junior, Timothy and Hazel Robinson.
“Our dad played in the Navy so he teaches us how to play football and how to do stuff,” said Junior Robinson.
“My mom was a track sprinter in college,” added their friend, Jace Hutcherson.
When asked if anyone was faster than them, all four answered with a resounding “no.”
The 10U Loudoun Legends and 17U girls from Arlington’s Virginia Hurricanes also won tournaments hosted by the Ravens and will be traveling to Orlando too. The Stafford team will spend the next three months practicing and playing indoors to stay on top of their game during the winter.
“It’s hard to practice outside because they’re little kids,” Robinson said. “So when it’s cold, they don’t want to play.”
That won’t be a problem in Orlando, even in February.
“We’re just going to have fun and try to win,” said Junior. “It’s going to be really fun for us.”
But his mom recognizes the competition will be tough.
“It’s going to be really hard because it’s the elite, it’s the best of the best going to battle it out,” said Robinson.
“I think, in my opinion, we’re going to win,” said Hutcherson.