Underneath the Lights: The 12th woman

Monday, October 18, 2010 | 8:37 p.m. CDT


COLUMBIA — Stacey Gerau is up at 4 a.m. every Friday. After she has gotten ready for the day, she sends out an email to all the parents of Rock Bridge High School football players with words of encouragement and the day’s agenda. She then text messages all the coaches. In the afternoon, she organizes the food for the football team and sets up the Touchdown Club’s tailgate.

This Friday is special because 70 seniors are being recognized. During all the usual Friday night activities, she organizes the seniors and their parents for photographs and recognition on the football field. At 5:50 p.m., everyone has to be off the field, otherwise head coach A.J. Ofodile and his team cannot start warming up for the game at 7 p.m.

Gerau is on time. At 5:49 p.m., she is driving the team Gator off the field as the last of the seniors and parents walk off.

“You see that big guy over there,” she asks as she points to Ofodile, “I don’t want to see him angry.”

As Gerau finally takes a break to sit down and enjoy some tailgate food, she is still organizing and cleaning up the tailgate.

At 6:45 p.m., Gerau is back on the field, preparing the end-zone video camera that she manages the entire game.

All of Rock Bridge is wondering if Gerau will continue with the volunteer job after her youngest son, Sheldon, graduates in May. One thing everyone knows, they will have a much larger workload without her.


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