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Friday, December 4, 2015

Highlands Football Traditions: Football Moms

During the holidays, no matter what holiday we may be celebrating, we nearly all celebrate one thing: tradition.  In a community like Fort Thomas, tradition is a way of life as much as anything else.  We have a tradition of excellent schools, of beautiful homes, and gridiron glory, to name a few.

One perhaps unsung tradition that relates to gridiron glory is the tradition carried out weekly by the football moms.

While the games are played between the lines and won with the weeks of practice leading up to them, the battle for the mind and motivation of the individual players is played out in sign, streamer, and Styrofoam cup around the city thanks to the efforts of the football players’ moms.

You’ve seen their work, to be sure: cups lining the water reservoir spelling out motivational phrases, the giant blue “H”, the blue and white streamers hand-made from garbage bags and affixed to each and every Varsity players’ door during Thursday evening practice, in preparation for Friday evenings’ game.

The dedication to ensure that the Highlands football players can visibly see the community support literally at their own front doors is a tradition as impactful to that young man and his definition of community as any other.
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The unheralded effort involved in such an undertaking, though, should be commended.

Linda Slone, former football mom who still refers to the players as “her boys,” was proud of her part played in the excellence of the football program.

“Highlands' tradition is not just for the boys; it is for the moms too, she says.  Slone described the typical weekly process as a rather arduous one that involved decorating both the lockers and the front doors of each and every player.  Under Coach Duffy, when the tradition started, this was only about 27 players.  However, as the program enjoyed increased success under Coach Mueller and now Coach Weinrich, the list of players approached 100!  The volunteer moms make three signs per door and change the motivational sayings each week.  In addition, signs are made for the lockers, streamers are hand-made, and various treats are also affixed to lockers and doors.  Once preparations are complete, the moms still have to physically decorate all of the locker and house doors.  To do so, the city was divided into five quintiles with a team of volunteer moms assigned each house in that quintile.  “Packets” of signs and streamers were distributed and doors were decorated Thursdays while the boys practiced.

However, the door decorating is not the only role of a “football mom,” per Slone.

Every Friday, different moms and dads would take off work and buy food, cook, and serve a meal to the players right after school and before that evening’s game.

The meals were planned by the coaches (Coach Mueller wouldn’t allow turkey as it may slow the players down) in an effort to ensure the Highlands players were properly nourished before a game.

Interestingly, the same slogans and acronyms are not used each week.  Although the football moms keep a glossary of the interesting acronyms over the years, they are constantly adding to their repertoire with new slogans.  One such acronym quite fittingly spells “TRADITIONS”.

Highlands Football is all about . . .

The traditions that make up all our winning seasons as we go
Running up and down the field while we are scoring points
After we have stopped every opponent on the field by having a
Dominating defense that gave the dedicated offense
Incredible field position every time the quarterback got the football,
That way we could use all the skills we learned this summer
In two-a-days, growing stronger with every practice so we can
Outsmart all the other teams each and every game by making plays,
Not giving them an inch till the game is over as we
Score more points than our opponents as we make it to the PLAYOFFS!!

Even this year, when the Bluebirds took the field for what proved to be the final game of the season the Friday after Thanksgiving, full of turkey and football pride, the football moms went door-to-door and locker-to-locker, decorating doors for each and every Varsity player.

While you were getting seconds of Thanksgiving pie, these moms were only thinking about

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