Did you know Mineral Wells football has a Friday morning breakfast club?
You won’t find Judd Nelson or Molly Ringwald hanging around, but people like long-time Ram football fans Don Crawford and Dale Brown will be on hand as head coach Gerald Perry talks about football.
Believed to have been started around 1984, by football fans Jerry Hamilton and College Football Hall of Famer Richard Ritchie, the “Friday Breakfast Club” the informal group of Mineral Wells High School football fans might be best described as an “insider’s club.”
The meeting features a briefing from Perry and then his coordinators showing 10-15 video clips each.
They are the same video clips (obviously not all) shown to the team and huddled over by the coaches as they pick apart each play figuring out what went right and wrong. Not even booster club members get this far inside Mineral Wells football.
Bringing in his coordinators (who will include Landry Gunter, Seth Hobbs, and Willard this season) was a Perry’s own added touch and boosted the level of the education of people attending the meetings.
“I love it. I have been coming since the early ‘80s when Joe Cluley Sr. was the head coach,” Crawford said. “We talk about what happened the week before, and coach Perry goes over what he expects to see from the other team. It gives you the insider-feel.”
Perry didn’t know about Mineral Wells’ breakfast club when he was first hired and wondered what the experience would be like, but he quickly found himself enjoying the meetings. Rams’ fans were hungry for information and wanting to know why this play failed and what happened on another? The meetings are talking about football, and that’s something Perry doesn’t mind doing.
“This is a really awesome tradition,” Perry said. “I thought by bringing in our coordinators
and some video clips we could let our fans get a better of understanding of the game.”
While Perry can’t possibly give all the information he has at his disposal; he does his best to make sure football fans get that “insider-feel.” It may be as simple as a raised fist toward the defense or another hand-signal indicating a blitz on defense.
Crawford admits to watching for those hand signals and nudging fans around him so he can tell them what’s about to happen on the field.
“It’s neat to know what’s about to happen in the game,” Crawford said. “It’s also great coming to the meetings on Friday and finding out more.”
Crawford loves Mineral Wells football, and when he talks about Mineral Wells playoff win three years ago over Pampa, there’s a ring of pride in his voice. Crawford’s pride never waivers, but there is a hint of sadness as he mentions the following week’s loss and how it came in bad weather.
One of the best things about what Perry calls “The Friday Breakfast Club” is it is informal, and there is no paid membership. It’s an excellent way for football fans to meet with coaches and talk about Ram football in Mineral Wells.
The club is moving locations this year and will host its first meeting at 7 a.m. Aug. 30, at Palo Pinto General Hospital’s meeting room and the hospital cafeteria will be available for the morning meal.
“I have never given more information than I do at these meetings,” Perry said. “Over the years I have refined it so our fans can use the information and feel like they are a part of the game.”
When Brown first began going to the breakfast club meeting when his sons were in 7th and 10th grade. What started as a family experience has blossomed over the years to love of all high schools sports – especially football!
“It’s a great time the only real requirement for attending is being positive,” Brown said. “We aren’t there to be negative. We are showing up to show our support of Mineral Wells High School football and our coaches.”
Brown has found his knowledge of football growing each week, and like Crawford, he feels like an insider too.
“Aside from the fellowship with the other people coming and getting to know the coaches,” Brown said. “It’s great because I can get a grasp of the game. Sitting there at a game and seeing the other team get into a formation, and realizing that’s what they talked about that morning. It helps me have a better understanding of the game.”
On Thursday, both Crawford and Brown were fresh from purchasing their season tickets for the 2019 season and eager to talk football with Perry in his office before their photo opportunity. The questions the two men peppered Perry with showed they have a firm grasp of the game.
Quizzing Perry about how the offensive line looks and things like the speed at linebacker showed these guys are not your ordinary-fawning footballs fans, but instead two candidates for the position of “assistant/assistant” coach.
“The meetings are lots of fun, and we have a great time talking about football,” Crawford laughingly said. “We have even suggested a few plays for coach Perry, and to his credit, he has never used any of them.”