More than sixty years ago Norbert Kopekin, William Black and Wally Beers founded the Livonia Junior Athletic League. These gentlemen took a group of boys and formed the Livonia Hawks. The Livonia Junior Football League grew to six units through the seventies and eighties and has now become the LJAL with the four units we have today: The Blue Jays, Eagles, Falcons, and Orioles.
The LJAL is a non-profit organization with sports programs for boys and girls of all ages. The LJAL currently has programs in basketball, baseball, and fast pitch softball as well as football and cheerleading. These programs exemplify the philosophy of the LJAL, and that is…. “To promote citizenship, sportsmanship and physical development among the boys and girls of the City of Livonia.”
During the past 60 years, Thousands of boys, girls and their families have been a part of the LJAL. Though many changes have taken place over the years, one thing has been consistent: Those standards of determination, fortitude, excellence, fair play, team work and good sportsmanship which were set down by our founders and has become a LJAL Tradition.
The goal of neighborhood availability has been achieved today, but it was a problem in the early days of the LJFL. In fact, during the league’s first years, teams had to travel to and from such distant cities such as St.ClairShores and Southgate to play games. Growth and expansion brought about the organization of enough local teams for the formation of a Western Suburban Junior Football League, of which the Livonia teams were charter members. The city of Livonia’s own growth eventually provided for the formation of six units, and these were incorporated into the present LJFL, now known as the Livonia Junior Athletic League (LJAL).
As neighborhoods grew older, the LJAL suffered a period of waning enthusiasm. This necessitated what came to be known as the “re-juvenation era” and has contributed to our present “family concept” in the organization and administration. As a result, the LJAL has been recognized as a positive unit of organization. The LJAL is alive and well and is one of the largest and finest junior athletic leagues in the state. We all need to thank our original founders for having the foresight in creating a program that has touched so many over the last 60 years.
LJAL is completely a volunteer program. We could not have survived without the countless hours given to our kids through our directors, coaches, parents and friends of the LJAL.