Parents provide banquet fit for a Kewpie

The Touchdown Club keeps Hickman players fed for championship run.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:39 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thirty-five pounds of uncooked pasta, 10 gallons of pasta sauce, 20 loaves of bread and 18 dozen cookies could be enough food to feed a family of four for a month.

It’s also the perfect amount for one meal for a championship-contending high school football team.

“It’s amazing how much these boys eat,” said Nancy Roper, co-president of Hickman’s Touchdown Club.

Throughout the season, the Touchdown Club has fed about 80 Hickman football players and the 11-member coaching staff a team dinner on Thursday nights. It may seem like a small gesture, but keeping the Kewpies fed is no easy task. Growing adolescent boys gearing up for the big game on Friday need a lot of sustenance.

The club provided 140 pulled-pork sandwiches on one Thursday and 60 pizzas on another. The club has tried several other dishes as well, remembering that quantity is important.

One parent cooked 300 homemade rolls but didn’t imagine the consequences.

“You give those boys 300 homemade rolls and it becomes Lambert’s,” said Roper, referring to the southeast Missouri restaurant known as the “Home of the Throwed Roll.”

The Touchdown Club also makes 150 peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches for the boxed lunches the players get on the bus during road trips. There will be no team dinner on Thursday night this week, because the Touchdown Club members will be busy preparing large amounts of food for their real families for Thanksgiving instead of their football family.

On Friday, there will be 175 6-inch Subway subs before the team leaves for the Jones Dome.

Roper said that no matter how many pounds of food the boys consume, it’s worth it.

“They’re not the biggest, they’re not the strongest and they’re not the fastest,” Roper said. “But they’re the ones who have the biggest heart. I wouldn’t have taken all my vacation to feed these kids pasta if they weren’t.”

Fellow Touchdown Club member Nikki Harper said that the team dinners are nowhere near the hardest part of being a Kewpie mom.

“Feeding them once a week is easy,” Harper said. “It’s feeding them every night that’s hard.”

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