Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy "Football Mothers" Day!

Welcome to the May edition of the blog and as luck would have it May 9th (I post on the ninth of the month in honor of the 2009 CAL Champion Pioneers) happens to fall on Mother's Day. So before we get into a little football talk, I thought it would be a good idea for a quick shout out to all the Pioneer  "Football Mothers", both present and past, who as we all know are the heart and soul of any football program.

As a former "Football Dad" married to a "Football Mom" I can tell you from first hand experience that the Moms always get the short end of the yard marker.

While we Dads fret and pace along the fence, on the sideline or in the stands, debating coaching strategy, personnel decisions and penalty calls, the Moms are organizing and carrying out the essential work that makes a high school football game the great event that it is.

The process of indoctrinating the Moms into the program is quite effective. As mothers of freshmen, they are recruited into the program slowly, maybe by selling 50/50 raffles.

As their sons grow into sophomores and juniors, the Moms workload increases. Manning (Womanning?) the concession stand becomes the next big job. It's always a particularly challenging task when the crowd reacts and the Moms abruptly halt their dispensing of hot dogs and sodas and try to stand on tiptoes and crane their necks to see what is happening on the field.

And Lord knows that there is a special saint in heaven for the mothers of seniors who have a tasks list to rival any fat football playbook.

Start with the care and feeding of the football hordes. If you haven't experienced the sight of dozens of high school football players devouring pancakes at a breakfast or spaghetti and meatballs at a dinner, you are clearly missing one of America's great spectacles. And who is there preparing and shoveling the food into those insatiable, gaping teenage mouths? You got it: the the "Football Mothers."

And as the season winds down, the work for the moms continues. You know that wonderful ceremony where the seniors hand their moms and dads flowers at the final home game? Guess who organizes that? One hint: NOT the Dads or the players.

Then comes the season's capstone event: The end of year banquet.

Watching the amount of planning and work that goes into organizing that event will give you some idea of what General Eisenhower and his staff had to do in planning the invasion of Normandy in World War II. Decorations, invitations, programs, photos and memorabilia for the seniors, video and slide shows are just some of the things that the Moms, particularly Captains' Moms, must deal with to prepare for the event.

We take it all for granted, but the responsibilities and tasks taken on by the Moms throughout a football season and football career are many, varied, endless and unfortunately for the most part, thankless. So in honor of Mother's Day, I think it's a good time for all you players and Dads to give your own "Football Mom" a big hug and hearty "Thank You" for all they do. They certainly deserve it.

Happy Mothers' Day Moms!

I've also included this link that I found on a Texas High School Football page. I'm sure it captures a lot of the emotions of all the Football Moms out there.

A Football Mother's Prayer

News and Notes

As the LHS Class of 2010 prepares to graduate, it's a good time to look ahead to see what some of the seniors will be doing next year.

According to head coach Neal Weidman, captain George Hennessey will be roaming the gridiron at Framingham State in the fall. Joining him on the Rams squad will be former Pioneer captain and four year starter Pat Lamusta (Class of 2008).

After a couple of  football-less years at UMass Amherst, Pat has decided he still has the "grid bug" and is not "ready to give it up." He is looking forward to reuniting with George. "It will be weird wearing the black and yellow jersey," said Lamusta. "Hopefully we will be difference makers for the Rams."

With the hard hitting Pat and George prowling the middle of the Ram defense, New England Football Conference ball carriers and receivers better keep their heads up!

The two former Pioneers will have an interesting reunion when FSU takes on NEFC rival Endicott College this fall. Facing them on the other side of the field will be George's brother and fellow LHS captain Joe Hennessey who will be donning the pads for the Gulls. No date for that game yet, but we'll be sure to mark that one on our calendar.

Captain Jon Leyden is headed to Northeastern but not to play football. According to Weidman, Leydon had contemplated going to WPI where he could have played, but opted to become a Husky. The rugged lineman played most of his senior year on bad knees but toughed it out to be a major contributor to the Pioneer's championship effort.

Pioneer team MVP Chris Grassi is deciding between Stonehill and Suffolk, according to the coach. If he opts for Suffolk, he would play baseball for the Rams. He would not, however, play football there. As a Suffolk Alum, I proudly wear my Ram football teeshirt that proclaims "Suffolk Football- Still Undefeated." Alas, the Beacon Hill university doesn't have a football program. If Chris heads to Stonehill, he could have the opportunity to hit the gridiron for the Skyhawks.

Spring/Summer Events

Believe it or not, we are only a little more than three months away from the start of preseason practices, and Weidman has a full slate of activity planned for the Pioneers for spring and early summer.

The team will be participating in a couple of 7 on 7 tournaments. The first will be June 13 at St. Anselm's College (alma mater of Pioneer line coach Mike Geary) and the second will be at the High School on July 24th. The Pioneers will also be participating in a 7 on 7 league from late June to early August. There are seven games on the slate against teams from Bishop Fenwich (a 2010 LHS opponent), Swampscott, Methuen, Reading and Peabody. I'll have a complete schedule and further details in the June post.

Weidman feels the 7 on 7's are extremely helpful in preparing for the season. The games feature a center, quarterback and five wide receivers or backs. It is all passing and is touch rather than tackle.

"The kids get to play together, running routes and gets them into football shape," said the coach. "It also builds a rapport and gets them used to playing football again."

That's it for now and we'll see you on June 9th.