Grandparents show spirit to support athletes, teams

Monday, October 1, 2012
The Rev. Michael Casteel, left, and Patsy Moore get ready to watch the Oran Eagles play the Santa Fe Chiefs in the Class 1 semifinal baseball game Wednesday, May 30, in Springfield, Mo. (File photo)

Decked out in school colors, they root for their favorite players from the sideline. They're cheerleaders, but they're not the teen girls in matching uniforms. For some local athletes, their grandparents are their biggest fans.

"I want to support her," Carol Callis says of her granddaughter Callie, a sophomore on Central High School's volleyball team. "I want her to know that we're proud of her trying to achieve something instead of sitting home watching TV and being out on the streets. She wants to be active."

Callie is the youngest of Carol's grandchildren who live in Cape; she has an older sister who played volleyball and cheered and Carol was there to support her, too.

"My grandchildren are my life," Carol says.

Teri Callis, Callie's mom, says Carol's health has limited her from going to as many games this year, but she tries not to miss any home games.

Carol Callis cheers as the Cape Central Tigers take on Bell City on Sept. 24. Callis' granddaughter Callie plays on the Tigers volleyball team. (Laura Simon)

Carol says Callie really enjoys her sport, an opportunity Carol didn't have when she was growing up.

"It seems like when the pressure is on her she does not get scared or freeze up," Carol says. "Her focus is on her game; she's so intent on doing the best she can."

Patsy Moore has nine grandchildren ranging from elementary-age to college students. And they all play or played sports, mostly baseball or softball.

Patsy rarely misses any of their games, whether it's summer baseball or for a high school team.

"Sometimes I've gone to four games in one day," she says. "The only time I miss a game is if it's church-related."

A 2008 Southeast Missourian article dubbed her Kelly's No. 1 Fan (her granddaughter Katee played on the Kelly Hawks softball team), and when grandson Kody Moore played for Oran High School in the state baseball tournament, she was right there cheering.

Being there for her grandchildren is important to Patsy.

"I lost my parents when I was pretty young, and had no one from my family to support me," she says. "I thought, when I get older and can do it, I'll be there cheering for (my family)."

And she doesn't limit her support to the sports arena. "Whether it's a musical or something, I'm there," she says. "There's more sports or games than things to do with academics. But I'm right there (for those), too."

She also serves as her grandchildren's 4-H leader: She took two days off work as a teacher at St. Denis Elementary in Benton, Mo., so her grandkids could show animals at the SEMO District Fair.

But when game time comes, she'll be on the sidelines with signs, school colors and cheers -- she really likes "H-I-T! Rally!"

The only time she's quiet, she says, is on the rare occasions when two of her grandchildren are on opposing teams.

When she had granddaughters playing softball for Benton and Oran, "I sat in the middle and didn't cheer," she says.

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