Learn how five fanatical football families from across the country show their spirit—and how you can throw a game-day blowout of your own!
Bake it Up
Tracey Meyer of Yorba Linda, Calif., may officially be “team mom” for son Clint’s high school squad—the Esperanza Aztecs in neighboring Anaheim—but she could be called “team baker” instead. On game days, Meyer whips up cupcakes in flavors such as peanut butter cup, Oreo and red velvet for all 90 players—and a bonus batch of rocky road brownies if the team wins. At the end-of-season banquet, kids and parents alike tuck into the 1,500 brownies, cookies and cake balls Meyer makes from scratch. She starts cooking as early as 5 a.m. on game days and buys ingredients in super-sized quantities from food service suppliers. “I love the kids,” says Meyer, who wears her spirit on her sleeve— literally—in one of 30 football jerseys she has bedazzled with sequins and school colors. “They’re so respectful and kind.”
Meyer, husband John and sons Clint, Jake and Ty, (who hopes to follow in his big brothers’ football footsteps), also host post-game gatherings in their backyard, decked out with a huge Aztec flag and chalkboards with different team slogans (“Aztecs Rock! “We are the Aztecs!”). The kids celebrate by tossing glow-in-the-dark footballs or watching an outdoor movie on a huge projector.
Make Game Day a Holiday
If it’s a fall Sunday, you know what the Schoenberger family of Lewes, Del., is up to. Rabid Baltimore Ravens fans Todd, Tiffani, and their 10- and 9-year-old sons invite neighbors over for an open house filled with food and fun each game day of the season. “We get up early to prepare all the food and listen to the pre-game show on the radio,” says Todd. “We treat game days like Thanksgiving or Christmas!”
The family plants Ravens flags in the front and back yards, ties purple and gold balloons to the mailbox and gets decked out head-to-toe in Ravens gear. The spread includes mozzarella sticks, meatballs in marinara, spinach and artichoke dip, and Maryland-style wings (covered in Old Bay Seasoning) from the Greene Turtle, a local restaurant.
Purple College Passion
You could say the Thomas family of Dallas bleeds purple. Mom Kathy and sons Colin, 24, and Clayton, 27, are graduates of Fort Worth’s Texas Christian University (TCU), while daughter Kristen, 20, is a student there. Game-watching parties involve enjoying spreads of barbecued brisket, ribs, ham on kaiser rolls and an assortment of treats in purple, TCU’s school color, including cupcakes and special purple margaritas. Kathy’s 84-year-old mom, Rosemary Doyle, even joins in the fun—only husband Greg, an alum of the University of Texas at Austin (UT), is the odd man out. “When TCU plays UT, it is a very stressful day!” Kathy says. But even a rivalry is fun for this family. “Everyone bets on the game, and the loser has to wear the other team’s colors on Christmas!”
A Family Affair
For a family of die-hard New England Patriots fans, Sunday football games are weekly family reunions. For years, up to a dozen extended family members in their game-day gear converge on family matriarch Aunt Pattie Withrow’s house in Dedham, Mass., to enjoy homemade salsa, dips, egg rolls, fried peppers with onions and festive desserts from a local bakery. At halftime, the crew heads outside for some fresh air and football tossing. “We love seeing each other and sharing this experience together,” says Kristen Zemeitus, Withrow’s niece. “It’s something we all look forward to, and it gives us an excuse to see each other weekly—we’re a tight bunch.”
Going to the Dogs
Dee Power and Brian Hill may live in Fountain Hills, Ariz., but they’ve been Green Bay Packers fans for as long as they can remember. On game day, everyone—including their English springer spaniel, Kate, and Irish setter, Rose—dresses up in Packers gear, and Power serves a menu that celebrates bratwurst, the German-style sausage revered in the Packers’ Wisconsin stomping grounds. Power has Johnsonville brand brats (the official brat of the Packers) shipped in from the Badger state to make her brat and sauerkraut pizza, brat and bean soup, and grilled brats with grilled onions and peppers. The couple puts up a small Packers-themed Christmas tree, decked with Packers ornaments and yellow and green lights, and garlands, in September, and doesn’t take it down until the team plays its final down of the season.