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Loving Football from an Early Age

1985 Freshman Squad of Sanger High School
I became fan of football early in life. As a child, I remember watching the Dallas Cowboys faithfully every Sunday during football season. My sisters and I would compete to see who could get the most jersey numbers and names written down on each team by the end of the game. Bonus for knowing the players' positions!

My parents and grandparents were all avid fans and I had already attended countless high school games by the time I was old enough to have peers actually participating in the sport ... which in Texas means about the 3rd grade. I vividly remember freezing games where we would drink hot chocolate non-stop and occasionally retire to the restrooms to thaw our hands and feet under the electric hand dryers.

I remember stopping to eat with the team after the games and being in awe of these high school heroes that I had cheered for each season. One player was so renowned during the game that the entire crowd would cheer for him ... "Give the ball to Calhoun! Give the ball to Calhoun!" One night, as we entered the restaurant where the team was eating, I summoned the courage to ask Calhoun for his autograph! Can you imagine this high school boy's reaction? It's so funny to think of now, but he was as close to royalty as I knew at the time! He did give me his autograph, by the way, and was cordial about it ... although I'm sure his buddies gave him a hard time about it later.

All of my male family members, it seems, donned a helmet, cleats, and shoulder pads in high school ... from my dad to my uncles, brother, and cousins. My grandfather played for Gainesville High School and had his jersey number retired for many years to honor his accomplishments there. He went on to play for Baylor University before serving in WWII. 

My husband and I spent the first years of our marriage travelling to see his brother play for Waco High School then to cheer my brother as he played for Sanger High School.

My grandmother was a cheerleader, then a cheerleader sponsor throughout her teaching career. My mother was an officer in the Gainesville High School "White Wave" drill team and also coached cheerleading during her teaching years as well. Is it any surprise that my sister and I were drawn to cheerleading in high school? 

It was great fun to cheer for the "Boys of Fall" in my school and football season was always a highlight in the school year.

Me with my 3rd grade "Mini Charmer" teammates.
Preparing for football season began with many summer practices and a week at Cheerleading Camp, exhausting but so much fun!
We couldn't wait for the Pep Rally each Friday!
Back in the day, our players ran through paper signs that we cheerleaders had slaved over for the past week.
Some of my hometown Boys of Fall, circa 1988!
Cheering during the games was always a lot of fun ... win or lose.

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