The next game is on Sunday. Reach out to Luedtke if interested in playing. PHOTO BY KEELY LARSON

An experiment

Big Sky’S footBall league

League football just makes sense in Big sky, does it not? Sam Luedtke, general manager for Skyline Bus, thought so.

“I’ve been thinking about doing it for multiple years, but I just never had the time,” he explained. a big University of Montana (UM) fan, Luedtke usually travels to all the games, but with the coronavirus canceling the college football season, he had more time to consider the idea.

“Ultimately, I would like to get a 10-team league going in the future. Big Sky normally has a 16- team softball league—I think there is an opportunity for a football league to start. Hopefully you could get some physical activity in while being able to socialize a little bit,” Luedtke said.

Heavy breathing could be heard during the first game last weekend. Many of the guys joked about how out of shape they were. “I don’t remember running this much in softball,” Zander Chovanes said. To their credit, it was hazy.

Luedtke used to play in the local softball leagues consistently and felt like a football league could piggyback off softball’s success. It would be a way to commit to an activity during the off-season and enjoy the fall weather and comradery of another league sport.

“We just basically have two ice sports then softball so it will be nice to have something that’s a little more explosive,” shawn Mesman said. Mesmam got one team together after seeing posters around town.

Luedtke went to UM and played on adult football leagues there. On Thursday nights he would get off work and get down to the field to play under the lights at 7 p.m. Lighting and weather are a couple of the challenges for starting a league in Big Sky.

Luedtke thought an early Sunday morning game would solve the lighting problem but heard 9 a.m. might be too early. He also conferred with the Big Sky Community Organization (BSCO) about when to play to best avoid the snow—late spring being a possibility, or a September-October time period. As it turned out, the latter ended up working—the first game was played on Sunday at 9:30.

Sunday morning was still chilly at 10 a.m., but the game was in full force. There ended up being seven on each team since 14 people, including Luedtke, showed up. Good-natured laughing, concern for each other’s well-being as they dived for a pass and high fives carried on throughout the game.

A long-term goal would be for the league to become affiliated with BSCO in order to be under their insurance policy and use their resources, like the park down by the softball field. For now, Luedtke plans to use McBride Park on Juniper Berry Drive.

“I would like to see people meeting up at local bars each week to watch their team and have a few beers. The future goal would alternate bars each week, where maybe the local bar could have a special that week for participants,” Luedtke said. He spoke with the Corral at one point and they were into the idea.

The process of putting together a league takes a bit of time, Luedtke said, but once it gets into a groove, it is easy.

Everyone thanked Luedtke after the first game and expressed interest in doing the same thing next weekend and continuing to consider playing elsewhere. One of the players, brought out a cooler of PBR and passed them out to end the morning on a good note.

“It’s just an experiment,” Luedtke said.

Interested? Call Luedtke at 406- 995-6287. Guys and gals welcome.

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