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When cowbells ring over the stadium at a Central Hardin High School football game, it means Pat Cromartie, a.k.a. No. 5’s mom, is in attendance.
She sits at the 50-yard line to watch all the plays with other parents. And when the team does well, their section of the stands becomes a sea of high-fives and, of course, more cowbell.
Her son, Jared, now a senior, is a standout student and athlete who plays wide receiver on the Bruin football team. Her pride in him drives her to cheer him on and work behind the scenes to support Central Hardin sports.
Jared has played football since he was in seventh grade at East Hardin Middle School. Cromartie admits she didn’t know much about football then and she’s still learning.
A single parent, she took off work to take him to football camp. Like most moms, she reminded him it was a dangerous sport, but after he survived the first week. she knew he’d be OK, she said.
She’s been going to games ever since.
She’s proud of the college letters he’s received. While she likes to share his success, Jared remains humble.
“He’s a very humble kid,” Cromartie said. “I’m probably more excited than he is. He’s humble, I’m not.”
She thought he might be embarrassed by her support at games, but knows it’s not to draw attention to herself but because she loves him, she said.
“She comes to every game and she’s my No. 1 fan,” Jared said. “I come and see her after a game and she inspires me to do my best.”
They are a close duo, especially after the divorce.
“He’s my best friend,” Cromartie said.
Mother and son go through game film together every week. The night before a game, clothes are laid out for game night and they pray together. After each game, they eat pizza together.
Jared not only plays football but also plays basketball and runs track. His mother is involved with all three sports as secretary of the football boosters, president of the basketball boosters and track mom.
From making sandwiches and serving pasta to tailgate parties and a day in a fundraising booth at the Glendale Crossing Festival, she’s done it all.
When this school year is over it’s not the games, the plays or the fans in the stands she’ll miss.
“I’ll miss Jared,” she said.
Jared is the youngest of her three sons.
He’s received three college letters a week this season and many schools are looking at him because he is a good a student with a high grade-point average.
This year Jared has co-oped at the County Attorney’s office in the mornings and is thinking about a law career. His mom’s proud of that, too.
Because of Jared’s academic ambitions Cromartie’s not sure if he’ll continue with football in college, but knows the offers are there if he chooses to.
She takes great joy in his accomplishments.
“You live for getting up on Sunday mornings to see his name in the paper,” Cromartie said. “You think, this is my child and this is my child in this picture.”
After he graduates she’s not sure what she’ll do with herself. Maybe she’ll get to the stacks and stacks of newspaper clippings of his athletic career she’s been meaning to scrapbook.
“Am I going to miss it? Yes,” she said. “Am I going to have a hard time? Without a doubt.”
If he does play in college, she’ll probably do her best to be at those games too, cowbells in hand.
Getting to know Pat Cromartie:
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or email@example.com.