Ed Baume has seen several highlights while working in several roles for Costa Mesa Pop Warner. The 85-year-old also known as, "Mr. Pop Warner," is expecting Saturday to be a special moment for sure.
Costa Mesa Pop Warner will celebrate its 50th anniversary at Jim Scott Stadium, starting at 9 a.m. with a special ceremony. The day will also feature scrimmage games on different levels, and the ceremony should also have a few surprises.
"We're trying to make a big thing out of it," Baume said of the season's opening day. "Fifty years is a big deal."
The ceremony will include Dave Perkins, who played on the 1963 Costa Mesa Pop Warner Pee Wee Colts, Baume said. Perkins went on to coach at Costa Mesa and Estancia.
Baume became affiliated with Costa Mesa Pop Warner soon after he moved into town in 1966, and then his eldest son, Ed Jr., played in 1967. He has been a part of Costa Mesa Pop Warner or Costa Mesa High football ever since.
The snack bar at Jim Scott Stadium is named after him.
Baume knows plenty about Costa Mesa Pop Warner history. He said the Pee Wee Colts that Perkins played on was the first tackle football team for the local youth football program.
This year, Costa Mesa Pop Warner's Pee Wee team will be called the Colts, Baume said. The players are expected to wear green helmets and black jerseys, similar to Costa Mesa High.
The Pee Wee Division is for 9-11-year-olds, and players weigh up to 120 pounds, he said.
The scrimmages on Saturday will begin with the Mighty Mite Division, which is the youngest, featuring 7-9-year-olds who weigh up to 90 pounds.
The Midget Division, 12-14-year-olds, will be scrimmaging at around 3 p.m.
Baume said at least five teams will be coming from outside the Orange Empire Conference that Costa Mesa plays in.
There will be teams from Encinitas and from the Inland Empire area, Baume said.
"They enjoy coming to our stadium," he said.
Baume, who says youth football is his hobby, has enjoyed Costa Mesa Pop Warner and watching the young players develop into tough football players.
Baume believes Pop Warner is an important program for youth, to keep some out of trouble and to teach life lessons, as well.
"Pop Warner is one of the oldest youth sports programs around," he said. "We're the only youth sports program that really requires the report card. They have to maintain good grades to be able to play. Yes, it's kind of a pain at times to get that all together. But it's great."
Baume said he also heard from a former coach who told him of five former Costa Mesa Pop Warner players who are now starters for their respective high school football teams.
Baume also holds Joe Zavala, a former Costa Mesa Pop Warner player, in high regard. Zavala, a senior lineman at Newport Harbor High, is autistic. Zavala's story of playing and becoming part of the team at Costa Mesa Pop Warner and at Newport Harbor has been featured in the Daily Pilot.
"He is playing now at Newport Harbor," Baume said. "I feel like the [Costa Mesa Pop Warner] program has changed him completely. Maybe he'll keep playing after high, or maybe he won't. If nothing else he's the poster boy for what's possible in this program."