Together They Will
Oskaloosa, Iowa – The parking lot at Lake Keomah continues to fill up. Little by little, one by one they walk, others in groups of five.
Once they all have arrived, managers, cheerleaders and football players alike, together, gather for a time of food, fun and togetherness that is making this team.
The definition of team is, “a group of players forming one side in a competitive game.” This year’s definition of the Oskaloosa Football team might be better described as the verb, “come together as a team to achieve a common goal.”
Ed Butler with the Oskaloosa Rotary Club was one of nearly 10 Rotary members there to serve dinner to the team. The group treats the team once a year to the meal. “We work with the youth, and feel it’s important that we interact and let them know that we appreciate their efforts in the community.”
The togetherness meal can trace its roots back to the mid-70′s and Coach Jerry Staton, and one that current Oskaloosa Football Head Coach Mike Sterner greatly appreciates.
The meal is a way to get the kids together the night before a football game, “they all have this pent up energy” and this gives them a way to stay out of trouble, and further develop as a team.
“It’s just good to get some of the traditions back that we’ve been a little bit lacking the last few years,” said Sterner. “This is just one of those chances to come back and the kids have a lot of fun doing this and it’s a way for them to connect and it’s not football.”
Traditions connect the past with the present. The film presented after the meal helped to illustrate just that. Film of football teams dating back to the 1950′s to the present was shared. “We’re going to do a little bit of a history lesson tonight and they will have a question and answer about traditions we’ve had, traditions that have been lost and traditions that maybe I didn’t even know about.”
Sterner says that having events like this as a team “are a blessing. I’ve seen both ends of it; as a player way back in the 80′s, and moving forward as a coach to see the connection that helps with our kids. We’ve got kids like this that want to be together. It’s a very valuable time to come together and be a team.”
One of those new traditions is the ‘Hokey Pokey’. “The group three years ago just wanted to celebrate and have fun and they picked that up,” said Sterner. “Now they think that’s just always the way it’s been done.”
The following video was caught by Diane Crookham-Johnson in the locker-room following the teams homecoming win.