Joliet Catholic Football Moms make season memorable
By Tony Graf firstname.lastname@example.org November 10, 2012 11:08PM
The Joliet Catholic Player's Mom's pose for a picture at Lincoln Way West High School in New Lenox, Illinois, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. | Michael DiNovo~For Sun-Times Media
High school football can create bonds — between players, between families — that last a lifetime.
At Joliet Catholic, the Football Moms want to be there to make those bonds memorable. They want to send seniors off to college with a sense of family, belonging and tradition.
On Saturday, the Hilltoppers traveled to New Lenox for a state Class 5A quarterfinal against the Lincoln-Way West Warriors, the Hilltoppers pulling out a 21-20 overtime thriller to advance to the semifinals.
A road game is perhaps the best time to show how the Football Moms get behind the Joliet Catholic players and coaches: It’s a tradition for the moms to prepare a pasta dinner the night before the team takes to the road.
“It’s kind of like a family-style tradition, and it brings the kids close together,” said Janet Madrigal, a member of the Football Moms. “The moms love doing it. It’s just a great camaraderie.”
On Friday night, the moms continued the tradition with a dinner in the Joliet Catholic cafeteria.
In August, the Football Moms organize the Family Picnic, which kicks off the season.
“We invite all the families — it could be siblings, parents, grandparents,” Madrigal said.
During the regular season, the moms sell spirit items. At every home game, the moms raffle off a gift basket, with items donated by the community.
“That’s really important,” said Lori Reitz, a member of the group. “A lot of donations have come in from Joliet and the surrounding communities to help support Joliet Catholic and the football team.”
Earlier this season, The Herald-News visited the Football Moms’ spirit-wear table at a home game. For sale were Joliet Catholic scarves with the Victory Light logo, blankets, T-shirts with the players’ names on the back, coffee mugs and wrist bands.
The Football Moms meet every week to discuss fundraising ideas.
“That is our goal, to raise enough money to have a very nice end-of-the-year banquet for the varsity football team, and the coaches and their spouses,” said Susan Harrison, a member of the group.
So this group is busy all season, from the picnic to the home-game sales to the road-game dinners — all the way to the postseason banquet. Maybe that’s the best thing about these moms: They are there all the time.
Being a Football Mom, even at a storied football program such as Joliet Catholic, is not always easy.
On May 27, defensive lineman Matt Mammosser died of cancer at age 17. It was an aggressive form of cancer he had been fighting since being diagnosed at the beginning of the year.
Mammosser is memorialized on the T-shirts that the Football Moms are selling this year. The moms sold decals to raise funds for the Mammosser family.
Also, the moms volunteered with the players at the “Mammo-Palooza” fundraiser Oct. 20 in Joliet.
“It’s just like a big family,” Madrigal said. “Whenever anybody needs help of any sort, there’s always somebody to pick up the slack and help out.”
Finally, the Football Moms give the senior players a special present to take away to college with them.
However, for anyone who has left a caring mom to go off to college, you will recall her greatest gift was the one she gave every day.