Playing for dad


courtesy EHSports

All in the Family: The Ramseys

Playing football in the pit on a Friday night is one of the most challenging experiences a 16-year old can face. The most notorious factor for opponents in The Pit is undoubtedly the roar of the crowd. Elder is well known for having a packed house of thousands of fans cheering their voices hoarse on a Friday night. This factor alone can cause a D-1 recruit to shake in his cleats.

It can also be said that Elder fans are some of the toughest critics in all of high school football. Many times I have seen a die-hard Elder fan criticize a 17-year old Elder athlete with a myriad of expletives for dropping a pass, fumbling, or missing a field goal. While cases like these are few and far between, it’s a good example of just how tough the critics are when it comes to Elder Football.

Yet, junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey consistently takes care of business every week. Yes, he’s thrown interceptions, he’s fumbled, and yes, the crowd has let him hear of their displeasure. But he doesn’t let these things get to him, he simply huddles back up with the offense and moves on to the next snap.

He consistently performs as smooth as ever under pressure, especially in big game situations. He gives the Elder fans little to criticize him over, and that’s a major accomplishment, considering his biggest critic is watching him from about 50 yards away on the sidelines. We know him as Coach Ramsey, Peyton knows him as dad.

I asked Peyton what playing for his dad was like, and he said the best thing is being able to sit at home and watch an upcoming opponent on film, or being able to ask a question whenever he needs to. He says the worst thing is, “Having a bad practice or a bad game; the car ride home seems really long.”

Furthermore, I caught up with former senior Montana Ramsey (class of ’14) who informed me, “It’s a pretty cool thing to line up next to your brother and having your dad calling the plays. My dad tried to treat me like everyone else. He was definitely harder on me, but that was a good thing.”

I asked Coach Pope if he’s seen a difference between how Coach Ramsey treats his son and how he treats other players.

He said, “No not at all, obviously there are a lot of responsibilities and expectation for Peyton just like there are every year for the starting QB at Elder. They have a father son connection which transcends football of course, so that understandably makes every moment meaningful for both of them I imagine.”

Peyton does a great job of keeping calm during games, and his leadership skills are unquestionable. I think he’s handled the pressure of playing the position very well.

— Coach Pope

I also asked him how Peyton handles the pressure of having his father as the coach during game time situations. Coach Pope informed me that the quarterback position at Elder is pressure packed, especially considering the caliber of competition Elder plays.

He said, “Peyton does a great job of keeping calm during games, and his leadership skills are unquestionable. I think he’s handled the pressure of playing the position very well.”

Finally, I had the chance to interview Coach Ramsey himself. I asked him if coaching Peyton makes it tougher as a coach, and if having Peyton as the starting quarterback added more stress to an already stressful job.

“It is tougher coaching your son because I think most parents have very high expectations for their children. I have to balance being a coach and a dad. I can’t be too hard on him and at the same time I can’t treat him different than the other players,” said Coach Ramsey. “I don’t think it’s any more stressful just different.”

He also told me that it has been a great experience for him to coach both Tanner and Peyton, and he looks forward to coaching his youngest son, Drew, in the future.

Playing for our fathers is something that we’ve all done at one time or another growing up on the Westside, whether it be baseball games at Kuliga Park, football games at Oskamps, or basketball at St. Jude during the annual holiday tournament. Peyton and his father get to take it one step further, and the whole Westside gets to witness it on Friday nights.

Our fathers have often been our toughest coaches, because they want to see us succeed very badly. One thing is certain, it’s a pretty awesome experience to come into The Pit on a Friday night and see these two lead Elder as father and son. Cheers to the father/son duo that have found a winning formula for the Elder football team.