POLAND VILLAGE, Ohio (WKBN) – By day Sgt. Jim Craven of the Poland Village Police Department is out on the streets making sure the village is safe. But by night, he trades his gun and badge in for a helmet and shoulder pads, playing for the Cleveland Warriors of the National Public Safety Football League.
“I always wanted that one more season,” says Sgt. Craven.
“Then you kind of get greedy because you felt good after one, so it continues on and then all of a sudden you’re in year nine and you are in your forties.”
Sgt. Craven is the only Valley first responder that plays for the Warriors. Making the trek to Parma for practice and home games.
“You know, it takes a lot sometimes to go up there. It will usually be early Saturday mornings, maybe an afternoon during the week. So it takes a little bit of concentration, especially when you have a family.”
Even though it keeps him busy—he says that the love of the sport and the comradery with his fellow first responders keeps him going.
“it is amazing, the relationships are phenomenal, says Sgt. Craven.
“As competitive as it gets on the field, that switch is flipped pretty quick getting off the field. We have events after the game where both teams get together and spend some time together and it is a great way to make connections.”
Sgt. Craven and the Warriors are heading to the league’s Division 2 championship game for the first time in team history, looking to bring a title to Northeast Ohio.
“I think that would be special,” Sgt. Craven says.
“I think it would set the young guys up for the future and I think it would send the older guys off with that really good feeling, the only feeling you get when you win a championship. I have been there before and it is irreplaceable.”
The Warriors will play the Los Angeles Grizzlies Saturday night at 10PM eastern time for the NPSFL championship.