By Molly Seales
In the fall of 2019, a group of football players’ grandmothers came together to form a group called “Pearls for Pigskins.” The group was started with the intention of trying to honor their grandsons on the Riverdale football team. This 2022 football season marks the beginning of the Pearls’ fourth season, and they are still going strong, serving their grandsons and their coaches. The Pearls prepare a meal for the team after school on the days of home games so that the players don’t have to leave school but can stay together as a team. This helps the team prepare themselves physically and mentally for the game.
Before the team is served, Coach Jared Smelser offers up the blessing and prays for the safety of all players-our Rebels and the opposing team. Wanda Hanna, organizer of the group said, “The coaches and players are always very appreciative of our efforts. But even better, it gives each of us grandmothers that can attend a little special time with our grandsons. While the group was formed to serve the team and our grandsons, it’s the Pearls that receive the biggest blessing!
Mrs. Wanda added, “Each year, as new players join the team, we attempt to contact their grandmothers and invite them to join our group. This year we have 16 members, five of which have been members since the group was organized. We look forward to continuing this tradition for years to come.” The picture is of the 11 Pearls who were able to attend last week, and each Pearl’s grandson is listed next to her.
Front row, left to right: Sherry Norman-Landen Barrett; Mary Tom Cowser-Hayden and Jackson Hillman; Millie Jones-Cannon Breedlove; Rose Nealy-Brock Keith; Karen Moseley-Ben Moseley. Back row, left to right: Bertha Giddings-Kaidyn Williams; Mary Almond-Ben and Ashton Almond; Wanda Hanna-Ryder Huddleston; Melinda Hardy-Kolten Antilley; Cindy Smith-Brock Keith; Rhonda Guin-Brock Keith. Those unable to attend and their respective grandsons are Kathy Anderson-Brock Keith; Donna Hillman-Hayden and Jackson Hillman; Barbara Martin-James Wagoner; Billie Hunter-Aston Hester; and Nell Huddleston-Ryder Huddleston.
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