It Takes a Village to Raise a Football Family
For the approximately 150 football players on the Center Grove High School football team, playing the game they love is what matters. For the parents of those football players, making their son’s football experience a memorable one is what matters. (That and winning of course!) The Center Grove football program is like a well-oiled machine. From the youngest kids who play flag football at the Center Grove Bantam Football Complex to the senior football players who are making special memories in their last year, the players and their parents, siblings and other relatives are often referred to as the ‘football family.’
Every Wednesday through the high school football season, the Parents Club meets to discuss upcoming events and needs for the program. There is enough to do for all parents wanting to get involved in something they will enjoy. One example is the pre-game tailgating meal. Hundreds of Trojan fans make their way through the Duke Spirit Pavilion before each Friday home page. From making the food to working the dinner line, parents do it all.
Starting early in the summer, spirit wear needs to be designed, ordered and managed. The “Coach’s Closet” tables full of Center Grove Football-branded T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more are manned by parents at every home football game and at many other Center Grove events. The annual Craft Fair takes a small army of volunteers to plan and run. Parents make dinner for the players each Friday afternoon, making sure they are well-nourished before each game. Many other activities like senior class-related fundraisers and events, the 7-on-7 tournament (which draws teams from across the State), fundraising, scholarship coordination and more … all of these are done by parents.
Jenny Daming, Junior Class Representative, says, “You don’t realize the amount of work that goes into the program. It is not just about your child; it is about the whole team. The boys appreciate what we do for them.” Jenny’s son, Austin, has been a part of the Center Grove football family since kindergarten.
Another special part of those Wednesday night meetings is the “Senior Moment.” Each week, a parent of a senior football player gets up in front of the group and discusses their thoughts about the program and what it has meant to them. There are usually tears involved as they recount their time as part of the football family and how it will be missed.
So why do so many parents get involved?
Senior Class Representative Amber McCoy, whose son Titus has played in the Center Grove football program since kindergarten, explains, “I feel closer to my son because I can talk to him about what is going on. The boys see the volunteer positions, and they appreciate the work we do. And they see that people care.”
Center Grove often plays schools that don’t have as much parental involvement. Coach Eric Moore says this program is unique. “Most schools don’t meet with their parents as much as we do. It gives parents a chance to get to know each other. It is a very special program.” He explained that everything that the parents do as part of the Parents Club is for the players in the current year, which makes it even more personal. The impact is tangible and shows the players that there is a whole extended family that cares for them.