By Jasmine Willis
ATTICA — It is nice to go back to your roots, be reminded of the innocence of team spirit, the passion of the players on the field, and more importantly be inspired by the victory.
There were four teams who laid it all out on the field as the rain poured, thunder echoed, and lightninging crashed in the small-town I once called home.
This is not a story about another high-school victory or senior who is about to sign onto a big college to become a world champion. No, this is about something far purer and more joyous than all of that.
It is about something we all long for as we grow up, and we have forgotten once breathed inside ourselves.
On Aug. 17 I witnessed the absolute precious birth of victory in the way it was always meant to be seen … with adoring and unconditional eyes.
My godson, Brantley Midkiff had his first ever football game to play in a rich green field held in the safety of our childhoods. Midkiff along with his teammates played for the Attica Blue Devils Beginners. It was a proud moment as I was there to cheer on him and his friends that would become a lifelong family.
Too often we forget that this is where it all started. It didn’t start in the grand sold out stadiums for the NFL or at any fancy college or high school. The walk to greatness starts on this muddy, grassy, and safe field in the heartbeat of small-town America. It starts in the hearts and minds of children that we will all watch grow on that field to become strong and capable men.
The moments that are tender are the ones that can slip by if you don’t take notice. Like when I saw Teammate Burns reach over and comfort my godson after a play didn’t go right. These boys are all learning and growing together and it was with great victory that they all were champions that day. The Attica Blue Devils Beginners won 35 to zero, and the hometown crowd of parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, and family all cheered.
Luke Harrington #7, Brantley Midkiff #13, Noah English #33, and Eli Lindbloom #21 all became friends right away and now they are a team.
Attica Blue Devils Beginners Head Coach Jeff Raimonde said he and the other coaches have been training the boys for this game five times a week.
“They all did very well, and we will be back to practice working on our game Monday. We have another big game with Batavia next week. We have one of the biggest teams,” he said. “We been selling a lot of items for the team like shirts, hats, and hoodies. This is all part of Attica Youth Athletics. This is my first year as head coach and I am very excited for this season. It is something I really enjoy doing.”
Raimonde added that this was the first game for a lot of the boys on the team since they are all about five to seven years old.
“We will keep practicing at least five times a week until school starts. We have a game scheduled for every Saturday. All of these games count in leading up to the championship. We hope to be in the top two teams when that happens,” he said.
Attica Blue Devils Beginners Coach Caleb Patterson is enjoying his second season. He travels from Corfu to be at these games for the boys. This 23-year-Old coach is hoping to make a big impact on these boys lives one victory at a time. Patterson continues to coach since his nephew, Ryan Reiss, plays for Attica Blue Devils Minis.
Another great game was played between the Attica Blue Devils Minis and Ogden Bears Minis for the victory in the rain-soaked field.
This story is very incredible since there were a lot of firsts. The first time a Rochester football team has played against an Attica football team. The first time we saw a female football player from Rochester on that field.
Annmarie Ramos, mother of twins on the Ogden Bears team is proud that her daughter is the only female football player.
“Darianna has been playing three years and she is the only girl on the team. She saw what her twin brother, Darius, was doing out on the field and she wanted to join him. Darius has been playing for four years,” she said. “It was a big adjustment to see her get roughed up on the field and be a football player like her brother. She has really become a great football player.”
Ramos said Darianna #14 is like a mother to her teammates on the field always keeping them in check.
“I am really really proud of her. She is a mother to them out there. She like to tell them all what to do,” she said.
Jessica Moroz, mother of Mason #10, Attica Blue Devils Minis football teammate said her son has followed in his big brother and dad’s footsteps. Both of them are football champions as well, so it is a family legacy passed down from father to son, brother to brother.
“I am really proud of my boy. This is the first time they are playing against Rochester. They are all very hardworking and dedicated boys. Mason liked watching his brother play, so he wanted to play too,” she said.
The Rochester Ogden Bears won 12 to zero but they had to fight way into the second half for those points. Attica Blue Devils gave it all they had and more on the field that day.
There is a story in all of this to share with the hearts and minds of those looking for a message of hope, triumph, and determination. These boys and one young girl are learning these lessons on the field so that they can share them in the world.
Let it be known that amongst the cheers and shouts of family and friends on both sides of the field were children who taught us the true pure meaning of greatness.
Attica Blue Devils Beginners Vs Batavia on Aug. 24 at 10 a.m. rain or shine they will play hard with the thunder in their hearts.