Behind the scene

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Layne Strebeck and his mother, Selena, are both involved in all things Wildcat’s football. Strebeck, a senior at Clovis High School, plays as defensive and tight end on the team, while his mother shoots photographs and organizes dinners.

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

Bonnie Mendoza hasn’t tackled anybody or thrown a block all season long, but she’s an integral part of the Clovis Wildcats’ football team.

She’s a player’s mom.

Mendoza said her son Jordan has been playing since he was 5 years old and she’s always supported his passion for the game.

“We put him on a team because our family loves sports,” she said.

Mendoza said Jordan has always been a quarterback and she’s always watched him play. This year, she has worn the same outfit — including socks — to every game. “I’m superstitious,” she laughed.

Another tradition in the Mendoza house is Thursday night dinner. “He (Jordan) has to have the same meal,” Bonnie Mendoza said. “Either we go to the restaurant or I have to pick it up for him.”

She’s not the only mom who’ll be offering spirited support for her son when the Wildcats host Las Cruces Mayfield at 6 p.m. Friday for the state championship.

Melinda Bryant, mother of senior defensive tackle Quentin Bryant, shows her support by wearing her son’s number on game day.

The Lockwood Elementary School librarian even wears No. 61 to work on Fridays.

“Our family is very proud of him (Quentin),” she said. “We try to be at every game.”

Selena Strebeck, mother of senior tight end Layne Strebeck, said she shows her support for the Wildcats by taking pictures. The mother of four said she can always be found on the sidelines snapping pictures, which she then burns to CDs and distributes to the players.

She also shows her support by making sure Layne and his teammates are well fed. “I’ll be having the spaghetti dinner at my house,” she said, “and that spaghetti better be good.”

It’s not always easy being a player’s mom in a football-crazy town.

“It’s a lot of pressure for him and for me,” Bonnie Mendoza said. “He (Jordan) is in the limelight and he’s just not like that.”

Bonnie Mendoza said it’s hard to sit in the stands and hear negative comments directed toward her son’s performance on the field. “It just comes with it though,” she said.

Although the bleacher chatter can be distracting, Bonnie Mendoza said she rarely sits quietly, preferring instead to cheer her son on loudly.

“I’m obnoxious,” she said. “But I tell my husband, ‘If you want to be quiet, go to church and pray. I’m here to see a football game.’”

Before each game, Bonnie Mendoza said she wishes her son luck and tells him to always remember where he came from. And after the games, she is there to provide massages and Motrin.
“It hurts me inside and out when he gets hit,” she said.