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            Rules, History, and Development Football is a very popular sport in the United States. It is played on playgrounds and in schools all around the country. Touch football developed in the late 19th century, as an alternative to tackle football, which required a lot of equipment. A number of variations of football were developed so that all you needed to play was a ball and a field. These variations include two-hand touch, where you have to touch the ball carrier with two hands; one-hand touch; and another method of one hand below the waist. None of the three games described involve tackling, thus eliminating the use of shoulder pads, helmets, and other safety equipment. The rules to these games included only limited blocking, or no blocking at all. Flag football developed off of the "touch" football games as a concrete way of determining where the ball is down. In flag football, the ball carrier is down when a flag is pulled from the ball carrier's belt. Flags can be tucked into pockets, and handkerchiefs can be substituted for manufactured flags. These new rules meant that argument could not be made about whether or not the defender touched the ball carrier or not. The flag was either there or it wasn't. It, also, made it easier for coeducational play in schools and playgrounds. Football is a popular fall sport that has become part of our culture in the United States. It can be an excellent coeducational activity too. Middle School or Junior High is when football should be introduced to youngsters, as it is more difficult to understand than some of the more basic games. Boys, tend to be more skilled in the areas of development needed to play football such as throwing, catching, and kicking. Girls don't seem to have as much opportunity. If girls are taught the skills necessary to play football at an early age, they will have more success as they grow older. All youngsters should have an opportunity to learn the game, and become informed observers.

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