(WCMH) COLUMBUS, OHIO – It takes a village to raise a Buckeye football player. The players hold specific pregame routines, and their parents hold their own set of unique traditions on game day. The Football Parents at Ohio State (FPAOS) is a group comprised of the players’ parents. Each year, a president organizes events for the parents throughout the year, and especially during the season.
Before the Ohio State vs. Michigan State game, the Buckeye parents stood around holding hands in a circle of prayer they call Prayer-Gate as Parris Campbell’s mom Shelley Woodruff led the FPAOS in prayer.
“Father God we thank you for bringing us together as a family unit father God to represent our boys Father God,” said Woodruff. She continued, “We’re asking that you will place angels around that field today not just for our players but for the other team.”
No matter the weather on game day, the football parents wake up bright and early to hold their own tailgate outside of Ohio Stadium. The players rely on the strength of their brotherhood as a team…their parents do the same.
“We also have a motherhood together…can’t leave out the fathers, but we’re a sisterhood, we’re sisters,” said Woodruff.
“For us, this is kind of our life,my husband and I haven’t missed a game,” said Susan Taylor, Brady Taylor’s mom. Michael Jordan’s mother Jackie Jordan added, “Come what may we’re here and we’re here to support them and rally the troops, rally the parents.”
Before the parents head into the Horseshoe, they line the side of the stairs outside The Blackwell hotel. They hug their sons and give them high-fives one last time before the game as the players make their walk to St. John Arena for Skull Session.
“Seeing their parents at that walk through is so important that…that helps their game day morale… they’re going to play harder because they know their parents are there,” said Jordan.