If the Center Grove softball team is going to have a meal before a game, snacks for away games or a special uniform, a group of parents makes sure that happens.
Parents staff the concession stand and make sure it’s stocked, make shirts for special games, such as today’s state championship or pink uniforms for breast cancer awareness, and make sure the team is fed.
The parent boosters are often led by one parent. For the past three seasons, that has been Angie Baker, senior Mallory Baker’s mother. Baker, a mother of three, is the one in charge of sending emails with game night updates on what time buses leave, which parents are scheduled to run the concession stand or supply the meal for road games and setting up projects, such as making shirts for parents or the players.
“If I didn’t enjoy the hustle and bustle I wouldn’t be doing this,” Baker said. “The school doesn’t pay for (what we provide). We run it with our own money. If we didn’t have parents who helped and volunteered, (a lot) wouldn’t get done.”
What Baker and the parent boosters do has grown to become a standard at Center Grove.
When Baker was appointed to the role three years ago, the main objective was that head coach Russ Milligan wouldn’t have to be bothered by those details. And that’s exactly how he likes it.
“The reason why she’s been so awesome is because I’ve never had to worry about anything,” Milligan said. “Our parents’ club takes away all the stuff I wouldn’t deal with. They take care of all the little things that make it nice to be a Trojan.”
They pay attention to every detail. Baker and the parents have ordered shirts and have been working on possibly getting a police escort home from the game if the Trojans walk away with the state title, she said.
They even have their own superstitions. During home games, Baker has made closing the concession stand her end-of-game ritual, she said.
She usually leaves the bleachers in the final inning to close up. She doesn’t like to watch because the games have been so close they have made her nervous, she said. Center Grove has come from behind to win on separate occasions during sectional and regional play, and not watching the end of those exciting games have been good luck, she said.
The superstitions spread throughout the parent club, too. After the sectional championship win, parents sat in the same spots and have stuck to the same rituals.
The other parents in the club are a large part of why Aimee Burris, sophomore Hannah Burris’ mom, loves Center Grove softball enough to take on the role next. After today, Baker will no longer be in charge of the parents’ club, since her daughter has graduated and is moving on to play softball at Purdue next year.
“Angie does everything. I’ve been learning the ropes shadowing her so I hopefully know what I’m doing,” Burris said. “I was really surprised to learn all the roles she plays that nobody knows. I knew there was a lot, but she’s basically the team mom.”
Burris, also a mother of three, has invested her time into the program for the same admiration of the program that Baker has, she said.
“We’ve got a lot of great parents. They’re all fabulous, and we’re all loud and supportive,” Burris said. “The support blows me away. Every (parent) is always willing to jump in and volunteer (to) help.”