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By JAMIE PARSELL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLUEFIELD — Moms know best during football season. They pack meals, clean helmets, wash uniforms and load the van. Jessica Mounts of Bluefield runs through plays with her sons Nate, 11, and Eli, 8, on the way to their games. Both boys play for the Minutemen. Nate plays running back and back-up quarterback. On defense, he is the cornerback for the Midget League. Her younger son, Eli, plays running back and safety for the Pee-Wee league.
According to Mounts, Nate’s desire to play football three years ago caught her and husband Daniel off guard.
“He wasn’t an aggressive kid,” she said. “He didn’t even like physical contact at first.”
But during the first year, Mounts saw a change in her son.
“I saw how well he was doing at football and the coaches were really into the games. They were so good with the kids and they were pumped up and they got the parents pumped up too.”
Mounts admits she became a football mom.
“I have loved football since junior high so I already had the football in me,” she said, reflecting on her days at Bluefield High School.
She loves late August and September and enjoys watching her sons on the field. She has even started incorporating her love of Minutemen football at the local nail salon. Trendy nails — with glittery designs and fun colors — is one way Mounts and other moms show their pride.
“I always try to do maroon and silver because its the Beavers colors and the Minutemen. I do a football scene in late August and Sept. Right now, I have a football design. Sometimes I will do their number,” she said.
Mounts also has a parent jersey. Hers is a bit flashier with a few rhinestones.
“I like to show my pride for the team and my children,” she explained. “Its just the spirit of the game. It gets a lot of people pumped up. If you are excited and doing fun stuff, they will follow along and support the team.”
During playoff time, its gets a bit crazy, she admitted. Mounts and other parents decorate their cars, make spirit tunnels and bring fog machines and strobe lights to the games.
“We do what we need to support the team,” she said. “It gets them motivated. If my kids complained, I would stop, but they like it.”
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Deb Sarver, of Bluefield, said there was a time when football moms were not as active. Her son Brandon played in the late 90s and Sarver supported the team by creating a large run-through for the team. The run-through allowed for the whole Beaver team to bust through, instead of following in a single line.
“I did that for six years,” she said. “They were huge. It was when they had the old goal posts and I ran them from one pole to the other.”
Sarver, along with another mom, made spirit signs and gave out small bags of candy to the players. She said she began noticing an increase in football moms in the early 2000s.
Now there are football and band moms everywhere. Sarver said it is a great addition to football and the band.
When she was a cheerleader at BHS, she said moms weren’t involved in sports. She said in those days the population of Bluefield was larger and there was a lot more support for the team and players.
She believes moms have stepped up and filled the void. Sarver, whose son played football at the University of Georgia, misses being a football mom. She reminisces when she sees the students paint a Beaver print on the local roads.
“The moms follow them in their cars,” she said, laughing.
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Food is another way football moms dish out their love.
In the 90s, Toni Albert, of Bluefield, remembers the day her son David asked her to pack extra sandwiches in his lunch during football practice in August. Some of the guys on the team didn’t have anything to eat and Daniel wanted to share. Instead, Albert went to practice and fixed lunch for the entire team every day. She had people in the community to donate items and several mothers sent food as well.
“While my husband was coaching, on Thursday evenings, I started bringing a snack — cookies or brownies — but it ended up being a meal. The guys and coaches liked it,” Albert said.
One time, Albert and her sister-in-law even took a grill to the field. Both her son and daughter Christie participated in sports at BHS. When they were little, Albert signed up to work the concession stands at the city league games.
“In this day and time, if you can get them involved, you need to support them. You need to encourage them,” she emphasized.
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In Princeton, Donna Bradbury said football moms like to worry more than the dads. As the mother to 16-year-old Casey Bradbury, she said moms want to make sure everything is safe and there is plenty of food.
“My favorite thing to do is feed them,” Bradbury said.
The Princeton Senior High School football team likes chicken, hash brown casserole and mac and cheese, she said. The team meets at 3 p.m., on game day, eats and relaxes before the game. Bradbury, who is treasurer of the booster club, said the meal is catered for the most part.
Princeton football moms wear picture buttons, T-shirts, rings, necklaces and more to support the team. Bradbury said there are more moms because some dads work out of town. Many parents are going through a divorce and a dad may live in another area, she added.
In addition to feeding a hungry bunch of football players, Bradbury said she likes to talk to the players and hear them joke and smile.
“We get to know them beyond the number,” she said.
When Tyler Clark was in the fourth grade, his mom Lisa started wearing face paint to the Raiders East games in Princeton. Even her parents — Tyler’s grandparents — showed up to the game in full Raiders face paint in shades of black and gray.
Nothing has changed since then. Now 17, Tyler plays for Princeton Senior High School. And his mom is right there — face paint and all.
“I have always been a rabid football fan,” Clark said. “I have all the team regalia, magnets for the car, a flag outside of the house, temporary tattoos and face paint.”
Clark said football moms are another extension of being a mother. There is a nurturing aspect. But she gives credit to the fathers who help with the team.
“A couple of moms can’t do the heavy lifting,” she explained.
As secretary of the Princeton Senior High School football boosters, Clark said she bought 250 hot dogs for the parent picnic to kick-off the season. Some of the moms made 20 pounds of hot dog chili.
“It takes a village,” she added.
But Moms know best. Not only do they provide for their sons, but they also take care of the team as a whole.
“You think of each of these boys as yours,” Clark said. “You root for them all. If they hurt, you worry for them all.”
If you call her face paint and temporary tattoos obsessive, she said,“ That is OK with me. You can’t run from the truth.”
— Contact Jamie Parsell at firstname.lastname@example.org.