“No, mom,” he said, “They need me.”
When she mentioned that they might be getting tickets to the Notre Dame game next year, Noah was concerned it might conflict with Randolph’s schedule.
When he was three, Noah started looking at the program and learning all the players’ names, numbers and positions. Now in Kindergarten, Noah is quite possibly Raider football’s greatest fan (other than the Jones Farm cows.)
This past season, Noah was at all of the team’s games, home and away. His senior buddy, Brantley Scoggins, gave him a jersey with his number on it that he wears for all the away games and he has another one from the Blue Crew dinner they had for the K-2 students. He wears the jerseys on Friday, when K-8 students have the option to wear spirit wear in lieu of the uniform polo, and whenever else he get the chance.
This past summer, Noah took part in Randolph’s summer football camp and got to practice with the players.
“All he talks about and lives for is football,” said his mother, Jill, who interviewed him for this post. “He really thinks he’s part of the team. He’s a little obsessed. With basketball, and now soccer, underway, he’s found some new sports, for now...”
What did you think of the 2012 football season?
I thought it was great. They worked hard. My favorite things were being on the sidelines, going to all the games and watching them get better and better.
What did you like about the home games?
Those were special days. I thought about it all day. I got to see some friends before the game, then go in the locker room and get ready and hang out with the guys. After that we went to the field to warm up, then back to the locker room. Coach called numbers telling them how long until the game started, then we ran on the field. It felt awesome to run out. I ran with the coaches. My favorite thing was being able to stand with the players.
What did you like about the away games?
I rode on the bus with the team. I sat with Neil Luther when he was hurt. I went to the locker room and then on the field. I liked when they were far away and I liked to see the other stadiums.
What advice would you give our players?
Work hard and don’t be scared to tackle.
Why should your friends go to the games?
You get to play before the game and watching the game is fun. I think the jerseys are cool and everyone should wear them on Fridays.
How do you feel if the team doesn’t win?
It’s okay. They’ll play harder next time.
What are your thoughts about the next season?
Next year they will be awesome and we might even see some better players.
We asked Brantley for his thoughts about having Noah there to support the team.
"Noah and I have always been very close," Brantley explained. "I used to see him in the weight room with his dad [Randolph's Strength and Training Coach] during the summer. Then I started watching him at my house when his dad was at work. We threw the football, jumped on the trampoline, swam in the pool. He was like my little brother. I couldn't wait for him to start school so I could be his Senior Buddy. I always looked forward to seeing his smile to brighten up my day."
"He came to all my football games and I would always get a high-five and 'good job' from him as I walked off the field. Even if it was a bad play, hearing that from him made it better. The season is over, but Noah and I still see each other outside of school and that smile and a little laugh from him always makes my day better."
Coach Guth, Randolph's Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, also appreciated Noah's presence at the games. "One of the greatest things in the whole world about high school athletics is that younger kids can see what it's like to compete and work hard together. There's nothing more magical than your first Friday nights."
Photos: Debbie Tomlinson, David Brown, Rebecca Moore