It’s been years since Jamesetta Cleveland figured out the best way to purchase cleats and pads for her son, Ronald. She still remembers being overwhelmed by all the equipment for him to play football.
Jamesetta is Ronald’s biggest fan and she became his biggest supporter both on and off the field. She still knows plenty of Battle Ground Academy’s playbook or even the Air Force Academy’s favorite or trick plays as well, after all, the mother-son duo spent hours studying playbooks so Ronald knew them all by heart.
“You really are your child’s biggest asset, if you allow yourself to be,” the single mom said.
Her son starred in high school at BGA in Franklin, helping the Wildcats reach the Division II-A state championship game as a senior – the school’s first title game appearance in more than a decade. The multi-sport standout just graduated from Air Force as a fourth generation military family member. On the field at Air Force, he collected 15 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for 171 yards and two more TDs despite missing five games due to injury in his senior season.
Jamesetta was there for it all and though Ronald’s football career may be over, she may have found another calling after years of following and supporting his career and passion for the game. Jamesetta wants to help other moms who were in her shoes years ago trying to learn with their sons.
“I believe that moms have a lot of power,” Jamesetta said. “We can be the lynchpin. We know our sons better than anyone and mothers should be informed enough to help their kids navigate the waters.”
On Saturday at Rolling Hills Church in Franklin, Cleveland and other moms, football professionals and players will present High School Football Mom 101. The day-long program will feature guest speakers, panel discussions and more presented through Sports Mom U – Jamesetta’s new endeavor – and College Football Moms. It is geared toward moms of high schoolers to help prepare them.
“This really all started from my own experience,” Jamesetta said. “This is a place and will be a system to help football moms. We will talk about all the nitty gritty parts of football and go over all the things I wish someone had told me.
“There are gaps out there and I experienced those gaps in knowledge and I just want to create a space where moms can learn and have a support system to help.”
Part of that developing system locally will include advice and help from other moms like Cassandra Gaulden, whose son Rashaan is playing in the NFL, and Tamala Annoor, who has four football boys – three who played or are playing in college and one still in high school.
Football Moms in the middle TN area, this is where you need to be Saturday!! Come tune in & get valuable insight as your son(s) look to play at the next level. 😤 pic.twitter.com/VyfdfSGZLg— Ronald Cleveland (@Cleveland_25) June 4, 2019
Annoor's three oldest went on to play college football after successful careers at Brentwood Academy. Her youngest son Amir is a rising junior for the Eagles.
“As a mom, you should really pursue all avenues of support,” said Tamala, whose sons grew up in football playing with Ronald Cleveland. “It can be overwhelming and no process is the same.”
Annoor’s oldest son Radir played at Tennessee Tech and went through the final stages of his recruiting process without playing his senior year due to a knee injury. The second oldest, Aaquil, played at Furman and just graduated, while Tahir is currently at Wofford.
Annoor plans on focusing some of her advice on her family’s experience with the constantly shifting recruiting processes.
“It was a long process for all three of them and a different one as well,” she said of Radir, Acquil and Tahir’s college recruiting. “And you have to always remember that this isn’t just football, it’s about education and what’s best for your sons.”
Ultimately, Cleveland said providing a place and developing a network for information for football moms has been something that has been pulling at her heart for some time.
"This is what I wished I had," she said. “There’s going to be lots of real conversations, but we want to share the parenting perspective with incoming moms and help them make the most of the opportunities for their sons.”
To find out more about High School Football Mom 101, contact Jamesetta Cleveland at 615-426-6978 or by emailing SportsMomU@gmail.com. On Twitter and Instagram, she can be found @sports_mom_u. Saturday’s seminar begins at 9 a.m. at Rolling Hills Community Church in Franklin. Admission is $30 with lunch provided.