7 p.m. It seems as though every Friday night in the fall is similar. A cold chill fills the lungs, but it’s not the only thing that fills the air. Pride and excitement are what keep fans coming week after week to high school football games in Missouri. Most are parents that follow their sons from game to game and high school to high school.
The fans of Hickman High School are no exception to this. They travel to away games throughout the year. On a 43-degree night in Troy, Hickman fans arrive with the usual jackets and blankets that they have ready to battle the cold every week.
Among those fans are Mark and Mary K. Brown. Not long into arriving at the field, they’re meeting with friends and talking it up with other parents. Mary K. does most of the talking and even leaves Mark and their daughter Jessica to go find seats.
Eventually they meet up again along with their friend, Sandy Beair. The duo of Mary K. and Sandy chat up a storm at the game, talking about anything from their high school days to how the Trojans of Troy-Buchanan run onto the field.
After they run past the band and cheerleaders through a paper sign, Sandy asks, “Why don’t we do that?”
They also talk about their two young boys, Charlie and Shane.
Charlie Brown is a senior offensive tackle, and Shane Beair is a senior wide receiver for the Kewpies. The two boys are good friends just like their mothers. The boys also play baseball together in the summer and hang out at each other’s house “all the time,” says Mary K.
According to Charlie’s sister, Jessica, the mothers and sons have some more similarities.
“You two are like little school girls,” says Jessica, referring to Mary K. and Sandy.
Mary K. gives her daughter a confused look.
“I’ll tell you when you’re older,” Jessica answered.
While Jessica cracks jokes and Mary K. and Sandy crack smiles, Mark Brown goes virtually unnoticed for much of the beginning of the game. While the girls are busy chatting it up and following along with the Hickman cheerleaders, Mark keeps a watchful eye on the team on the field, particularly number 65 on offense.
Mary K. makes sure he’s doing his job too after nearly every play.
She looks to Mark and asks, “How did he do?”
Mark gives her a quick nod and a short “Good.”