In a game that was 36 years in the making, Wilson Middle School's
Knights football team pounded on Roosevelt's Rough Riders, winning
the game, 25-6.
But in this game, nearly everyone involved was a winner. The
Glendale Police's Police Activities League organized Thursday's game
between the two schools as a way to involve their students in team
sports to foster unity at each school and keep them away from bad
"I think it's great," Principal Rich Lucas said. "Academics is
important, but it's social and emotional activities that kids need."
Dora Martinez donned a black and red sweatshirt emblazoned with
the jersey number 22, which belonged to her son, Uzi Martinez.
"It's wonderful what the PAL program does for these kids. I mean,
look at this big turnout," Martinez said, gesturing to the cheering
fans lining both sides of the field. "This has made a big difference
for [my son] with his enthusiasm, his classes, his weight training."
Wilson students came out in full force, many of them donning
either blue or gray school T-shirts, some even mimicking die-hard NFL
fans by writing their school's name in blue marker on their
"I've been looking forward to this," 12-year-old Maria Lopez said,
as her friends took turns labeling themselves as Wilson fans. "I even
bet $5 that Wilson would win."
The two schools have not played football against each other since
1968. The sport was undertaken by the Glendale Police's PAL program,
to involve at-risk students in athletics like football, basketball,
boxing and horseback riding.
The effect has been evident on Tony Lau's son.
"I think it's good -- he has incentive to keep doing his
homework," Lau said of his 14-year-old son Andrew. "It's good for him
... it's better than video games and television."