MORRIS – Nothing brings an athlete’s spirits up like an enthusiastic, thundering shout of encouragement from the stands.
Add a cowbell and you’ve got Morris Redskins fan Tricia “Tee Tee” Shannon.
“She’s always been there,” Morris football quad-captain Jake Walker said. “She’s the loudest, craziest fan. As an athlete, it’s a great feeling. It makes me push harder so she can cheer louder.”
Shannon was diagnosed with breast cancer in July, and one of her main concerns was missing the opening football game. “Who will ring the cowbell?” she asked several friends.
So friends Kris Torkelson, Shelly Cole and Beth Walker created custom pink T-shirts, complete with an image of Shannon’s cowbell. The shirts read “Ring Cancer’s Bell” followed by “#FightlikeaRedskin.”
“We knew there was no way this wouldn’t put a burden on the family,” Torkelson said. “We had to do something for football because Tee Tee is the epitome of football.”
Shannon said she doesn’t know any better way to fight. She’s been a Morris Redskin as long as she can remember.
“I was a Redskin before I got to high school,” she said. “I remember always going to football games.”
Not until she first donned a Morris Redskins softball uniform did she really understand the pride that came with being a Redskin.
Shannon graduated Morris Community High School in 1987, but her love of the maroon and white has only grown since. She’s often found on the sidelines of youth football games, Saratoga basketball games, dance competitions, or anywhere a child can be found participating in a sport.
“Every child needs someone to cheer them on,” she said. “I want to be the person to do that.”
As long as Torkelson has known her, Shannon has supported every child for everything they do.
“She’s everyone’s cheerleader, whether it’s a 5-year-old dancing or a college kid playing sports,” Torkelson said. “She is every child’s personal fan.”
Walker remembers playing for the Morris Warriors and hearing Shannon yelling for him from the sidelines.
“She’s been there for me since sixth grade,” Walker said. “She’d be at Saratoga, and at the Warriors games, always with her cowbell.”
Walker honored Shannon this year by including pink on his customized cleats for his senior year as a Redskin.
“I wanted to put them on my shoes so that when I’m on the field it can symbolize my fighting for her,” Walker said.
Shannon who underwent surgery last week said Thursday that she plans to be at the season opener in Minooka, with her cowbell.
“There is no way I’m going to miss it,” she said.
Shannon’s friends have sold 320 T-shirts and have ordered another set.
They hope all Morris Redskin fans will participate in “Pink Out Night” at the Sept. 12 Morris Redskins football game against Dundee-Crown.
In addition to getting fans to show up in pink, Torkelson said the Quarterback Club will donate the proceeds of their 50/50 raffle to Shannon.
If you are interested in getting a t-shirt, you can email Kris Torkelson at ballmom247@gmailcom for more information.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?Check out Saturday’s edition of the Morris Daily Herald, or visit morrisdailyherald.com, to find out how the first night of the 2014 Preps Football season went for our local teams.