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Moms on the gridiron

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Kali Fisher reels in a catch during the Momerators practice. 

Kayla Degraffenreid hopes to see her son, a Bolivar High School freshman football player, complete lots of passes this fall, whichever squad he lands on.

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Vicki Bunn grins before running through a play Monday. 

But on Monday, June 29, Degraffenreid was concerned with her own skill under center.

BHS football’s annual Momerators practice gave the team’s matriarchs a chance to experience what it’s like at a team practice, and hopefully, generate new support for the program, coach Glen Johnson told the group. 

“I need you to be advocates for me,” Johnson said. “Typically, moms are my harshest critics.”

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Amanda McCullah stands by her son, Cael, before practice starts. 

Degraffenreid said she’d already had one son on the team before, so she knew some of what to expect on the field. 

Moms followed their players through a number of drills on the practice field, substituting in to make catches, throw passes, rush the ball or place blocks. 

“But really, I still didn’t really know what I was doing out there, running through the play and hoping I don’t get tackled,” she said. 

Johnson stressed before the practice no moms would be hit or tackled. 

“We are going to show you a few things about what your sons go through,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, you realize we’re doing all kinds of stuff to make this a safer game.”

Miranda Spiegel, whose son plays on the team, said she appreciates that. She’ll always worry about her son, but she said she knows he’s in good hands. 

“A supportive mom is always washing laundry, always taking him to practice, always showing up to a game, whether it’s home or away, staying up late at night and worrying when they’re hurt,” she said. 

Attending practice with her son was eye opening, she said. 

“It’s more complicated than it looks when you’re just watching it as a fan,” she said. “Now, you have a job. When you’re in the stands, you’re just enjoying it and ready for a touchdown. But, I love football and I love watching him. He loves playing it.”

That’s the kind of support Johnson said he hopes to build. 

“Moms, please try to follow your kids,” he said. “Kids, please make sure mom knows where she’s going and what she’s doing.”

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Bolivar High School football coach Glen Johnson shows a group of moms a play.

At one point in the practice, Johnson held up a clipboard with a play outlined. Team moms gathered around to check their routes before lining up behind the ball. 

The play went off, albeit roughly, eliciting some laughter from the players. 

Spiegel said she predicted it. 

“When I got here, he had a smile on his face like he was about to laugh at me,” she said of her son. “I’m still just happy to be here with him.”

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