Sports

Reflections of a football mom

Dahlila Stell waves from her familys seat above the Tomahawk 50-yard line. -
Dahlila Stell waves from her familys seat above the Tomahawk 50-yard line.
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By day, Dahlila Stell helps manage the volunteer department at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue. But by night, she dons her M-P fan gear and transforms into a Football Mom.
With three sons, all in sports her eldest, Denay, is the Tomahawks quarterback Dahlila spends a lot of time in a sphere typically associated with men. But in a way, its a natural fit for her.
I actually have five brothers too, so Ive always been comfortable around boys, she said, adding that she makes up for the gender disparity in small ways. Im really into pink, so they dont borrow my stuff.
And, arriving well ahead of kickoff for the Marysville-Lake Stevens game, she crocheted a blanket for her youngest son, Deion. Crocheting is kind of a habit she picked up to keep herself busy during games.
Though there is still more than two hours until the game, the whole family is there. Her husband, Lamar, is the president of the booster club and hes outside the stadium setting up a grill to offer hot dogs and brats to the masses. Family togetherness is a big deal for the Stells.
We all support each other and the only time we dont attend an event is if theres a legitimate conflict, Dahlila said, adding that the entire family turns out for each others events. We spend a lot of time together. I think its important for the boys to support each other.
The familys involvement in sports has made them part of a close-knit athletic community. With the competitive atmosphere of varsity sports, a lot of the most serious athletes get their start at a young age and grow up together. As a result, the Stells have known a lot of sports families since Denay picked up a basketball at age four like the family of Everetts Rendel Jones, with whom Denay played in his early football days.
That lifelong commitment to the game has also given Dahlila a kind of acceptance of the roughness of sports.
You kind of get used to it, she said of watching her son take tackles. When Denay was younger and hed play football, I was kind of nervous. Now I see other moms cringing because you dont want to see your kid hurt, but Ive been through that.
It makes her one of the veteran moms at her younger sons games. Damar plays fullback and middle linebacker for the Cedarcrest Middle School eighth-grade squad, and sixth-grader Deion is a quarterback and cornerback for the private Marysville Grizzlies team.
Of her youngest, Dahlila said, Hes extremely competitive. Anything Denay and Damar do, he has to do.

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