Miranda C. was recently driving her oldest son, Donnie, home from football practice when he told her how the other players really felt about their team mom.
“My friends don’t know if they should fear you or love you,” Donnie said.
She wouldn’t have it any other way.
Miranda has three boys who play football – Donnie, 15; Hunter, 9; and Rylan, 6 – and she’s heavily involved in all of their teams. She oversees the Parent Football Club Committee for Donnie’s high school, organizes everything for Hunter’s team from jerseys to scheduling events and is the assistant team parent for Rylan’s second-grade team.
It’s basically another full-time job, but Miranda prefers to be the one to get things done and making sure they are done right. She makes all the plans and she knows all the players. Give her any title you want, but to the players, she goes simply by “Mom.”
So when they say that they don’t know whether they should fear her or love her, it just comes with the territory of being a parent.
“I like the combination of both, actually,” Miranda said. “They call me mom because I’ve been in so much of their lives. Then there are times when they aren’t acting correctly that I can turn to them and say, ‘Straighten up. Right now.’”
Oh, the coaches can get it too. She’s not only passionate, but she has a great understanding about the game. It’s funny, considering she had very little to do with football until Donnie started playing in fourth grade.
“The other night, Hunter had a scrimmage game,” Miranda said. “I was literally out on the field with the coaches telling them where to place these kids.”
She doesn’t miss a game, a scrimmage or a practice for any of her sons, except for Donnie’s 3:00 p.m. high school practices. But she has a set of rules in place that makes her unlike many of those overbearing Friday Night Tykes parents.
For instance, once the kids cross the parking lot to the fields, they are no longer her kids. She calls players by their last names, like what it would say on their jersey. She won’t run on to the field when her son gets hurt until called over. And she knows that giving her kids a hobby will teach them discipline and keep them out of trouble.
And there is no shortage of memories. She has one moment for each of her sons that showed how rewarding her support can be.
For Rylan, who just made the jump to tackle football, it was watching him get his first tackle. In a game last year, Hunter had a mind-boggling performance on the defensive line, aside from an offensive score.
“We stopped counting, but we registered 25 quarterback sacks,” Miranda said. “Unfortunately they didn’t have a very good line to block him.”
And for Donnie, it was the culmination of three undefeated years of in his middle school league. When they won the championship that year, it was the last time that group of middle schoolers would be together before splitting off into different high schools.
“Every single one of the boys were crying on that field,” Miranda said. “The parents were crying on that field. We all went out there and were all crying with them because it was a huge accomplishment for those boys.”
But being a football mom has yielded many other proud – and some painful – moments, but not just from her boys. Feared or loved, it doesn’t matter. A mother’s love is unconditional.
“I call them all my kids because they really are all my kids.”