Every Thursday at Kiwanis Field a tradition takes place for some La Porte Slicer Football players, their coaches and dedicated volunteers. Every Thursday the team eats dinner together and for a few moments players, friends, coaches and mothers are allowed to bond together.
Junior Varsity and Varsity football players from La Porte High School participate every Thursday in what is called their pre-dinner, a dinner open to all JV and Varsity football players to sit and eat dinner together with their fellow athletes and coaches. This is a time where the players can temporarily forget their individual roles and coaches can forget their coaching schedule and eat together as friends and colleagues.
“This has been a tradition for at least 19 years,” says volunteer Shelli Warnock. “This has been run in the past by other moms and has been passed down throughout the years.”
Warnock's responsibility consists of not only organizing and serving the dinner's but finding restaurants or local businesses for donations as well.
“We go to local businesses and ask them to donate to the team, sometimes we experience a little difficulty but there have been a few businesses that have been very helpful and donated food to the team along with some mom's who have also donated,” says Warnock.
One of the most recent restaurants who have contributed to the team was Albano's Villa of La Porte who Warnock credits as a huge help to the team.
“Albano's is amazing and has been super helpful in providing dinner for us tonight,” says Warnock. “They were able to donate this meal to us and feed over 120 players for free along with working a cost effective plan for future meals.”
Traditionally, seniors and starters are given the first opportunity to get their food and eat due to their hard work and dedication. While freshmen are not initially part of this tradition, Warnock commented on how she is eager to watch them play and grow so they eventually can join their older teammates at the table.
“I've been doing this for 3 years now, and it's been a joy to be a part of this tradition,” says Warnock. “I know the freshmen will work hard and eventually earn their way to join the others here, their time will come.”
Both the players and parent volunteers have credited the closeness that this dinner creates, a sense of fellowship and bonding that has lasted throughout the 19 years of Slicer's football.
"I feel like this is something that all schools should do, not just La Porte,” says Warnock. “It's been a joy to see the players and coaches smile and sit down at the table as a fellowship rather than coaches and players. The moms get pumped up and bond as well as the players, it truly brings us all together as one community.”