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More Than a Game

She kicks for Steinbrenner and her mother's memory

LUTZ

Senior Jessica Weatherman attends every single Steinbrenner High varsity football game. • Not as a spectator • Not as a cheerleader. • But as one of the players. • She's one of the kickers on the team. • "The coach asked me to try out when he saw me punting during flag football," she said. "I thought it would be really cool and something different to do."

She has bonded with her teammates and her coaches, as if she's just another one of the guys.

"I definitely changed things up with the team," said Jessica of being the lone girl. "But they are gentlemen and brought me into the team."

Jessica is a four-sport athlete — traditional football, basketball, track and flag football — who balances maintaining good grades, going to see her boyfriend's hockey games and being an integral part of her family.

Jessica's mother passed away from breast cancer when she was a freshman. Jessica and her father have become closer through her athletics.

"Since my mom passed away, it's been a priority to get closer and have a better relationship with my dad," she said. "He's been extremely supportive of my athletics."

Jessica finds ways to honor her mother. Whether it's her mother's birth date on her inner wrist — written in ink before every game — or the breast cancer awareness ribbon she wears around her neck.

"I wanted to do something for my mom," she said. "I wanted something to look at during games, something to keep me going."

Each week this fall, Times photographer Eve Edelheit will scan the county to focus on the ancillary aspects — players, drama, coaches, fans, highs, lows, tradition, cheerleaders — that make prep football in this area "More Than a Game."

She kicks for Steinbrenner and her mother's memory 11/08/12 [Last modified: Thursday, November 8, 2012 3:30am]
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