Playing football with family

Before each game of the 2021 Siuslaw football season, the entire team gets together to share a meal. Before the La Pine playoff game they met at the Myricks. (photos by Zac Burtt)

Siuslaw team shares weekly meals and a bond of brotherhood

Nov. 27, 2021 — On the Friday night before the 3A semifinal last week, Stew and Dustee Myrick had a few hungry visitors. Maybe a few is an understatement. The Myricks had the entire Siuslaw football team over for dinner. 

Pregame meals have been a Viking tradition for as long as anyone can remember. For years, it was a spaghetti dinner in the mall at Siuslaw High School. When COVID-19 hit and sports were shut down the dinners stopped. Serving a meal at school still wasn’t an option when football started up again, so parents stepped up and started hosting the dinners at their homes.

The meal at the Myricks’ was the 12th such dinner this year for the Vikings. Before each game of the football season, a different player’s parents have hosted the team. Coaches don’t attend; it’s just a few parents and a bunch of kids. This gives the players a chance to relax and connect with each other off the football field. 

To feed the team last Friday, Stew cooked 52 hamburgers. There were salads, casseroles, chips, cookies, water, Gatorade and chocolate milk (the team goes through 6 gallons at an average dinner). 

Parents of players provide a lot of the food, but the community comes together to do the rest. The Hukilau, Restobar, Darlings Marina, Abby’s, Little Brown Hen and Three Rivers Casino Resort have all provided food at different times. Wildflower Montessori School has stepped up as a staging location for food deliveries. Dune’s Cafe, Goodman’s Floor Covering and Coldwell Banker have been instrumental, too. 

By putting these meals together, the community has created more than just full bellies. The community has helped create unity. 

If you ask any Siuslaw Viking football player what the team’s secret to success is, they won't say a stout defense, a great passing game or an unstoppable rushing attack. All these may be true — but ask them what the defining characteristic of the 2021 Siuslaw Viking football team is, and they will say one word. Brotherhood.

To the rest of the world, they are a football team. To them, the 2021 Siuslaw Vikings are a family.

“We trust each other and have each other's backs,” said senior Camp Lacouture. “It's a group that we will have for the rest of our lives. It's hard to understand from the outside looking in. We've given our blood, sweat and tears for this brotherhood and that keeps us tight.”

Most of the seniors on this team have played together since at least middle school, which also tightens the bond.

“We've dreamed of this day for years,” said another senior James Smith. “The thing I'll miss most is just being with these guys every day. What's better than playing the sport of football with your best friends?” 

The brotherhood this team has is so special, it will not be broken when the season is over. It is an everlasting bond. 

“Lots of teams say that they're a family, but at Siuslaw it's a genuine bond between all of our guys,” said Isaac Garza, another Siuslaw senior. “Anyone who has spent time around us has seen what it's like to have a family of 40 brothers who trust each other with everything. It's actually insane to look back on everything this group has gone through. From flag football to a state title game, we've always been together, and we always will be.”

Those that wish to contribute to the Siuslaw Viking football program, in any way, can contact Siuslaw High School directly at 541-997-3448. If someone wishes to make a financial donation, Oregon Pacific Bank has an account in the football team’s name.