This blog is specifically intended to be about the Rouse Raider football team. All posts will be written about football, but I wanted to write something a little different that I would like each Rouse Raider to read because I feel that it is important to hear from someone that is NOT a coach. I am a mother, a coach's wife, a friend, and a huge fan of the Raiders and football/sports in general.
I really wanted to wait to post this until closer to football season, but some recent things have happened in the last week and I feel that right now is as good of time as any. I know that in the future the posts will be about Rouse football!
Sit back and get some popcorn and a drink, because this is going to be LONG!
As an athlete, you have so much more of an advantage to make a difference in young children than anyone else. You can not imagine how kids of all ages look up to you. You likely don't see them, but they are watching your every move. They might not know your name, but they know your number and they worship you and want to be just like you. YOU are the sole reason that they want to be a Rouse Raider, or maybe a Timber wolf, or maybe a Longhorn!
I can remember back when I was young and I would go watch the WFHS Coyotes play football. I wanted to be a part of the atmosphere so bad and I couldn't wait to grow up to be a Coyote (Ironically, I was a Rider Raider, but I married a WFHS Coyote) Every year, my brother would go as a Coyote Football Player and I would pretend to be a Coyote Cheerleader.
I have SO many good memories of football as a kid. Back when I was young they used to allow the fans to rush onto the football field after each home game. To this very day I still have football programs from when I was little, along with autographs from the Coyote football players! I thought that they were celebrities and my brother and I were in awe of them!
As luck would have it, I lived in Rider's district, so I had to attend Rider HS. I was ok with that since all of my friends were going there. It wasn't until my freshman year of HS that I became a fan of Rider Football.
I was a manager for the football team. We had a lot of fun and I got to know so many of the football players and eventually I came around and was Black and Gold through and through. I always loved football, but going to football games was more of a social event for me. Again, I loved football, but really didn't know a darn thing about it.
My sophomore year, I moved up with the Varsity team and started dating a football player. He was a Linebacker; although I didn't even know that until later in the season! Finally I started paying attention to the game and helped one of the coaches keep stats on the sideline. That was when I really started understanding a little about the game.
My junior year was amazing and so much fun. I was still dating the Linebacker and understood more about football after each game.
My senior year I was HOOKED. I couldn't get enough of football but wanted to watch the game from the stands with my friends. So, like an idiot, I quit my position as trainer/ manager. It is something that I really regret everyday.
Anyhow, in the previous years we had losing seasons. Strangely, we also had a losing season my senior year. We went 2-6 in district. But at our last game we were tied with the Coyotes for the 3rd spot in district that would have put us in the playoffs. We had to BEAT the Coyotes, and then flip a coin to determine who would go to the playoffs. We won the game and we won the flip.
As I am writing this, I am literally getting chills, remembering back to that night. I was standing outside the locker room with two of my friends and then out of nowhere, a good friend of mine, Justin Chavez, came RUNNING full speed out of the locker room, grabbed me and twirled me around, I can almost still smell the locker room sweaty smell:) Everyone was yelling and screaming and crying; yes, crying. Remember, we were 2-6. The news reporters were there and we have that picture on video tape still! (Yes, I do watch it from time to time)
So, there we were 2-6 and going into the playoffs. Everyone was against us, thinking we would be creamed in the first game. I am not sure if even the players thought we had a chance. Our coaches did.
To make a long story short: Our 1st playoff game was against Weatherford who was 2nd in their district. We beat them in 3 overtimes. There we were! We had won a playoff game!
2nd playoff game: A very tough Cleburne team who was 1st in their district. We beat them too. On the very last play of the game, their Quarterback threw a Hail Mary pass and our defensive back, Jacob Franks, intercepted the ball and ran it down for a touchdown (Again, I am getting chills). We won the game with no time on the clock. Everyone sat in the stands in utter amazement. Our Cinderella team had won 2 playoff games!
The 3rd round of playoffs we finally lost, but it was only by 1 TD and it was to a VERY good Plainview team. We finished at 4-8.
Our Last game- Look at the crowd!
Tired, exhausted, but not giving up!
Ok- NOT a flattering picture of me- but this picture was taken as the buzzer went off and the game was over. My world was crushed that day:(
That was probably one of the saddest days of my life. I cannot remember a time that I have cried harder in public. We had come so far, and I was SO sad that it was over for us. Football would never, ever be the same again.
This picture likely describes me the best.
Let me tell you. I did not play football, but I was likely the biggest fan of our football team. Your High School years fly by so incredibly fast. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but really, slow down and enjoy this time because for most of you, your days as a football player will end in 3 years. I can only imagine that there is not a better feeling than being on the field with 5000 fans watching you give it your all. Whether you win or lose, it is an experience that you will NEVER forget.
After HS, I attended MSU in my hometown. Every Friday, I would continue to go to Rider's football games. I even skipped a Sorority function to listen to the game in my car and got fined for missing the event, but I didn't care at all.
I started dating a guy that wasn't really into football and had to tell him about some of the rules. I even considered breaking up with him because, to me, he wasn't as much of a man if he didn't understand at least the basic concept of football. Again, I know that is dumb, but football was important to me and I wanted to date someone that was just as into it.
So, I continued dating this guy for the next 3 years. During the 3rd year, he and I were out with some friends, who had a mutual friend named Josh Mann. Josh was a football coach for the Coyotes. Immediately I had to tell Josh my connection with the Coyote football team. I was SO interested in telling this story to Josh that I didn't even realize that he was gorgeous! Then I noticed that my boyfriend was getting very jealous and didn't want me talking to him at all.
Long story short, I had to date this football illiterate guy for 3 years before meeting the 1 guy who possessed every single quality in a guy that I could dream of AND he is was COACH!!! YEA!!! After dating 9 months, he proposed. Football is probably the only reason that we initially got together in the first place (and there is way more to the story than I could fit into this posting).
Can you see the little footballs that are in my wedding bouquet? The florist was mortified that I asked her to do it:)
1980 - 1992 (a Fan) I was a true Coyote.
1993 - 2003 (a part of the team) I was Rider Raider that bled Black and Gold.
2003 - 2005 (a coach's wife) I become a Coyote again, but through marriage. I did learn to love the Coyotes and am probably definitely more of a Coyote fan than a Raider. I just have so much history with the Coyotes that dates back to my granparents. My ENTIRE family went there- even my granparents. My brother and I were the first Rider Raiders in our family- which was VERY hard on my grandparents who will be Coyotes until they die. Infact- they will likely have the Coyote fight song played at their funerals instead of Amazing Grace:) ha
In 2003 I became a Coaches Wife. I have to say that this is likely the best position that I have been in as far as being a part of a football team. There is nothing like the feeling of watching my “Mann” on the sideline calling plays, getting excited and I can always tell when he is mad. I also know how to tell when he is focused (he bends down and turns his hat backwards).
I love watching you players grow up. You change so much from a freshman to a senior and it is amazing to watch; the maturity and the physical growth. You go from scrawny freshmen to adult men in 4 years.
I love coming home from a game and getting to hear all the things that happened on the sideline and what is going on in Josh's head. Even when we lose a game, I still love it. I love to listen to Josh agonize over what went wrong, what he felt he could have done better and what he knows that he, himself needs to work on. Of course, I don't love it that we lost but I love that he loves the game SO much that it bothers him to no end when something goes wrong. I love the fact that Josh trusts me enough to tell me the things that he shouldn't be telling me, but tells me anyway because he needs to talk it out and he knows that I love to hear it.
When we win a game, coming home is even more fun. I love to listen to him talk to me about what schemes went well and what didn't work but worked enough to get the job done. I love it when a player does something great in a game and I see Josh hit his shoulder pads or give him a high five. I even love it when a player messes up on a play and see Josh hit the players helmet and yell at him, THEN he will go to him a few minutes later and put his arm around the kid and let him know that he believes in him and knows that he can do a great job and then sends him back into the game.
I LOVE to sit in the stands and listen to your team name being yelled. Even when I hear negative comments from parents, it’s ok because I know that my husband is doing his best and is working hard for his team and his players. And it doesn't matter to me what those parents say. I love hearing the good things too. There is not a better feeling than a parent telling me what a great coach that they think Josh is. I don't mean to brag but I have heard it a lot. I personally think that Josh is amazing and that the Rouse Raiders will be amazing because of him and his coaching staff.
ONE of my proudest moments was at our last Cedar Park football banquet. Coach Ross invited Josh on stage with him and said a very long speech about his and Josh's coaching careers and how Josh was also one of his best friends. The speech was very moving. It takes A LOT, I mean a LOT for me to tear up, but I did have tears rolling onto my cheeks during this moment. Then, Coach Ross announced that Josh had been given the opportunity to start his own program at the new school: Rouse HS. And the entire room stood up to give Josh a standing ovation. Also during the banquet they did a live auction. There was a Timberwolve football helmet, signed by the entire football team and coaching staff that was auctioned off for $300. At the end of the banquet the man that purchased it- gave it to Josh.
I can't tell you how proud that made me. I never expected that kind of reaction from the parents and players, but it made me feel so good to know that they supported us so much.
I hope that you, as a player, know that you have the best coaching staff. Coach Mann has brought in coaches that he felt could all work together to make this entire athletic program work and, so far, I think that the stats speak for themselves. These coaches dedicate so much time into serving YOU. You may not realize it now, but starting next year (our Varsity year) they will be working 120-140 hours a WEEK to make our program successful. That is 120-140 hours that they will be away from their wives and kids. Football season is a joy for us, but it is hard on the coaches as well as the wives that sacrifice our time for you. But we and they do it "for the love of the game."
I love talking to your parents and getting to know you through them. I would love to talk to you and get to know you personally. I know most of your names, BUT I can only put your name with your face by looking at your number! I am nice! Come introduce yourself and talk to me. My boys love you and they love being around you!!
There are SO many things about being a Coaches wife that I love, but high up on my list is this particular memory: At Cedar Park HS, I took on the challenge on getting a group of kids together called the Pack Pups; Identical to the Raider Rousers. On the varsity level, these kids get to run onto the field with the players and, thus, they are required to be on the field by the tunnel before the game.
The players would come out of the tunnel and do their 2 minute pre-game stretches beside the Pack Pups. Each game, Jace and I would purposely stand towards the back and watch the players stretch and start their ritual of "getting themselves hyped for the game." Yelling, howling, jumping up and down, and saying the T-wolves chant. THEN, Coach Ross would come out of the locker room to pump them up even more.
The crowd is cheering, the smoke is coming out of the tunnel, the music is playing loud and Coach Ross is saying the most awful things to them JUST to get them pumped up and ready to play 48 minutes of a grueling game that puts their bodies through utter hell - but they are addicted to that rush.
Being there at that moment to listen to those words and feeling the feeling of a Friday Night TEXAS High School football game under the lights gets my blood boiling. At that moment, I feel as if even I- a 5’1, 110 pound girl, could go in and smack some players around. There is NOTHING in the world MORE exciting than being at that place at that time. It is almost breathtaking and is something that I can barely explain.
I cannot WAIT; I mean literally I am SO excited to be there in that moment when the Rouse Raiders come onto the field for their first Friday Night Football game. I can't wait to hear what Josh is going to say to you to get your blood pumping and your heart pounding and so jacked up that you can't even stand to wait until the music starts to run through the tunnel. I want to hear him yell at you and say things that you would never expect him to say - but yet those are things that you need to hear to get you ready to play on the field for the next 48 minutes. You are going to feel pain and you are going to be sore, but that is the best soreness that you will ever feel. Kids and adults are going to be chanting your name and will know you because you are a Rouse Raider.
You will be amazed at the atmosphere that you will experience at a Varsity game. I don't know that anything can possibly prepare you for what you will experience at that level. It is a completely different feeling and a much different game; and an experience that you will NEVER, ever be able to shake. You are in for a wild ride and everything that you did last season and everything that you will do this year is to prepare you for next year. You freshman have only 1 football season to prepare before you get to experience what most kids have to wait 2, sometimes 3 years to prepare for.
My post really got off topic! My sole purpose of this post was to tell you that as a football player, you have a VERY unique opportunity to change the life of someone. Although I NEVER played a sport, football kept me going in school and really in life. Football has ALWAYS been a huge part of my life and was only enhanced once I met Josh.
For my brother, Dustin, he had baseball. He was a very good baseball player, but there was someone better than him, so he did not start. BUT he was a huge asset to the team. There were times that he felt like quitting, but didn't because he loved the Coach so much. Coach Hargrove really changed his life in certain ways. But his teammates are still some of his best friends.
My brother is a pretty good writer and 2 years ago he wrote a short story about his days as a baseball player, starting from when he was in T-ball. It is titled “Just a Game” and it is a beautiful story and very uplifting. I have it saved on my computer and if anyone would like to read it, feel free to email me and I will send it to you.
Dusty and I had a wonderful childhood, and a very supportive family. But my mom and dad divorced when Dusty was a freshman and it was VERY hard on him. Baseball was really the one thing that kept him going because it was difficult. Sports can just do so much for someone: young and old. The camaraderie of your teammates can do a lot. So remember that if one of your teammates is having a problem, the issue may be something bigger than you may first think. Try to uplift them and help them by being a good, positive friend.
This is a photo of the team running out to jump on my brother. Again, he was not a starter. At this particular game- with a win- it would send us to the 3d round of the playoffs. Dusty went in to bat- with 2 outs and we were the last to bat. We were tied with the opponent. He bunted the ball and the 3rd basemen came in. Dusty basically won the game for the Rider Raider baseball team and we went to the 3rd round and ended up going 4 rounds deep.
While we were at Cedar Park, there was a player who had 2 nephews that were very young and they lost their father the night before a very important game. Max was a great kid and loved his nephews, so it was arranged that the boys would be allowed to come onto the field after the game and sing the alma mater with the team. They were so excited and were so grateful. These boys were 7 and 8 years old. Then they were allowed to ride back on the bus with the team to the school. Typically only coach’s kids get that privilege!
This is a picture of 2 of the Cedar Park Coaches kids. They are both praying that we make the extra point to win the game. We did and we won the game (against Pflugerville). The other is a picture of one of the girls hugging a cheerleader and crying because she knew that her daddy was going to be so excited that we won the game. These pictures were taken by our team photographer and not staged!
Jace and Judson are obsessed with you players. Everyday, they take their little plastic football players and have a Rouse vs. Cedar Park football game and Rouse almost always wins. (It took awhile for Jace to warm up to the fact that he wasn't a Timber wolf anymore!) Jace even had a Rouse Raider Football birthday party. We literally had a party at the Rouse Raider football field and he had to be complete with the jerseys for his friends and they were to all be called the Raiders. He wanted gold for the away team and maroon for the home team. He absolutely refused to have any other be called anything but the Raiders. Now Judson wants to do the same thing, except on the baseball field.
Judson is JUST barely at the age that he understands what sports involve. So you Raiders have a chance to have a huge influence on him. Talk to my boys, give them high fives, play catch with them, just interact with a kid and you will make all the difference in the world.
My kids, the other coach’s kids and all kids in general: worship you. You have an amazing opportunity to do something wonderful for kids just by talking to them. My boys come home and they talk about you a lot.
Apparently Tai Gadison makes some sort of effort to talk to them, because they know his name and always talk about him when we are at the school and look for him, Thank you for whatever you have said to them because it made their day and they remember your name because of it.
Zack Pelt, a third grader, who has a brother coming up from 8th grade, he played with them for about 20 minutes one day and they have remembered your name and ask about you. They have even asked if they can go watch you play football. You are in 3rd grade and they are already looking up to you. Thank you and thank you so much for being so nice to them and paying them just a tiny bit of attention and remember that even as a young kid; kids younger than you are looking to you as a role model.
Here are some photos of Jace. This is how much he loves to be around football. I hope that some of these photos show you how much they watch you. Look at his stance and his facial expressions; they mimic the players!
One of the JV players got hurt in a game and he gave his shoulder pads to Jace to wear during the game. Poor Jace thought was going to get to actually play in the game, and was heartbroken when he learned that he coudln't go in "hit somebody"
At 3 years old, Jace asked me to paint his hair green for the Twolve game. NOTE: It stays in the hair and does NOT wash out very well. His hair was green for several months.
See how Jace is just as sad as the players that we lost our playoff game. He was really sad.
Listen to the after game speech with the team
Tyler Smith asked Jace to stand by him at the end of the game and sing the alma mater
My favorite picture and possibly the one that describes how we feel about football the best
Jace watching the team warm up with Gunnar. Jace was 2 years old. It was our second year at Cedar Park
Here are some pictures of the kids that come to watch your games. Here are some Cedar Park Pack Pups and some Rouse Raider Rousers. They come to watch you play and they just want to be around you so, remember that the next time you see a kid, tell them hello and give them a high five! If you are at Target, invite a kid to come watch a game. I know that striking up a conversation with a stranger's kid can be intimidating, but I promise that after the first few times, it is a lot of fun because kids are really intrigued by you and want you to talk to them.
Give the Raider Rousers a high five and pats on the head - they will love you forever for it and you never know - you just might change that kid’s life for the better.
Next season, our Varsity season, the Raider Rousers will be wearing little Raider football jerseys and will be running onto the football field with you. Wouldn't it be really neat to make such an impact on a kid that they show up to the game wearing your number on the back of their jersey...
My hope is that you understand what a large role you play in a lot of people’s lives. I have said before that children watch your every move and they want to be JUST like you. This also includes the things that you do that aren’t so good. My boys came home last week spitting in the floor. I asked Jace why he did that and he said that the Rouse Raiders do that on the sidelines!!! Although I do not want them spitting on my carpet, it went on to show me that they want to do the things that you do because they look at you as role models.
So remember that the next time you say a curse word, make fun of a teammate, talk negatively about your coaches or a teacher, that there are little eyes that might be watching your every move...
"For the Love of the Game"
2012 VARSITY Football Schedule (1-0)
Striving to be 1-0 after we play Cedar Ridge on Friday
August 31-- Hendrickson (WIN 50-23)
September 7 @Cedar Ridge
September 14 @ Hays
September 21-- Del Valle
September 28-- Dripping Springs
October 5 @ Leander
October 12-- Marble Falls
October 19 @ Cedar Park
November 2-- Vandegrift
November 9 @ Vista Ridge
Currently 1-0 on the Season