“Polish and Pray” has been a tradition for two years among the family, mostly moms, of the Johnson varsity football players.
“It’s real important to us. It started the very first year that Johnson opened and it was started by Rick and Kim Stewart,” senior mom Sandy Cessna said.
The night before every game, moms, siblings, and occasionally dads go into the varsity football locker room to clean and decorate their son (or brother’s) locker.
“Yeah, it’s boosting. They leave me a lot of snacks; it’s really encouraging and I appreciate it. My mom puts candies and little cakes, signs, and sometimes a Bible verse and stuff like that,” senior defensive player Taylor Colbath said.
When the lockers are finally festive and tidy, the family members grabs at least one helmet, despite whether or not the player’s mom is present, and lock hands to form a circle.
“What we do is come in and decorate lockers, leave snacks, and pray over their helmets and wish them best of luck for the game,” Sandy Cessna said.
In addition, the mothers bond just as much, if not more, than the players do.
“It’s a great opportunity for the mothers to bond as well. It reassures me that we are all praying for the same thing; safety and success for our team,” Melanie Valdez said.
The players practice countless hours each week in order to achieve victory, and through polish and pray, the families are able to acknowledge all of the players’ accomplishments.
“I love it when my mom and sister give me candy and notes. It really helps me pull through and win the game,” senior Nick Valdez said.
Not only are the players acknowledged through polish and pray, but thanksgiving and praise is also given to God.
“Every week a new mom says a prayer and they’re always inspirational. It really boosts our spirits,” Melanie Valdez said.