Good play or bad play, touchdown or fumble, there is that voice. That ever recognizable yelling from the stands. Every Lawrence Senior High (Cedarhurst, N.Y.) game, every play, as loud as can be. Easily heard over every other noise regardless of the venue.
Usually it is the father who is the loud one at games. Chastising officialsand cheering for their team/child. Not in this case, however. And while Jordan Fredericks’ mom may not be focusing the officiating, she is making sure her son hears what she has to say.
”My mom is the screamer at the games and my father is the quiet one,” Fredericks said.
The screamer is the same woman who makes sure she attends every single event her son participates in to show her unwavering support. Sometimes, though, that support is quite audible.
While that vocal support can test the patience of the generally calm Fredericks, he knows it comes from a place of unconditional love. Something he knows he is lucky to have.
”What’s going through my mind half of the time is ‘can this old lady be quiet,’” Fredericks said with a laugh. “But I know she means well. The other half of the time she’s right. I try to listen as much as I can because what I can’t see she can see. I have almost an eye in the sky for me. It’s a lot of help.
”There have been plenty of times where she could have been fired from work when she would leave early just to make a game for me. I would tell her she doesn’t have to and she was always like ‘I’m coming.’ Not only for football because I play lacrosse and I do track too. She would leave early for any event that I had. It means a lot.”
Justin Fredericks, Jordan’s older brother and the second oldest of six boys, came home from middle school one day. He had started playing football, a sport that was foreign to Jordan at the time.
But Justin did not come home with the usual books and homework. He had pads and other football related equipment. Jordan was mesmerized and immediately wanted to learn more.
At that time, Jordan said, he had yet to see an actual football. That would soon change as he and his brothers would start playing the sport together during pickup games. It was through that he fostered his love for football. A love that would take him to heights he was not considering at the time.
He wanted cleats, pads, a helmet and all of the other necessities of the game. Not too long after, he started playing in a more organized fashion. He would get his hands on all of those things for the first time.
”We found out there was a little league, and we all signed up for it,” Fredericks said. “My first year, I didn’t really know what I was doing. From playing with my brothers, I guess I was football smart and it came easy. Then just over time, it grew and grew and I loved it.”
It takes sacrifice for any family to support their child participating in athletics. The transportation to and from practice, the game day commitments, the offseason tournaments, the training, on and on and on. It meant a lack of personal time for Fredericks’ parents. It meant funding all of that activity as well.
But not only did the Fredericks have to make those sacrifices for Jordan, but had brothers who participated in sports as well.
As with most preteen kids and early teenagers, Jordan did not notice what his parents had to forfeit in order for him to pursue his dream. His focus was on the task at hand. Running by the defender in front of him, working hard to get that little bit of extra burst or on his stick handling as a lacrosse athlete.
Then, as he progressed through high school, he started to realize what his parents were doing for him.
”I didn’t really notice until my junior year of high school just how much time and effort they put forth,” Fredericks said. “Not only for me but for them too because they used their off-time from work for me instead of what they wanted to do. They couldn’t buy themselves expensive things because they were paying for me to go to training and whatnot.
”For me and my brothers to go to seven-on-sevens. It means a lot. I try to do everything in my power to play for them because I know when I win, they win at the same time.”
One of the reasons Frederick’s parents were so willing to give everything they could to support their children is because of the close-knit environment they have created in their home.
The Fredericks are close. They spend time together. Not just the brothers or the parents attending sporting events, but at home as well. Simple things like eating dinner together or having family time where they all hang out goes a long way.
That strong family bond is instilled from the top down, and is a big part of who Jordan was, is and will be.
”My father believes, both of my parents actually, that the stronger and closer a family is comes from spending time together,” Fredericks said. “That being around each other and being relaxed with each other means more positive energy that we give off. We try to do everything together.
”We started eating more together. Just settling down in the house instead of going out a couple of nights here and there. Just watch movies, joke around, and it’s all awesome. Being close is a big thing in my family.”
So when Fredericks finally signed his letter of intent to play football at Syracuse on February 4th, it was naturally a family event.
”My dad was so excited,” Fredericks said. “He just clapped and gave thanks to God for everything He’s blessed us with. My mother, she always cries. She’s always emotional. A quarter of a million that I don’t have to pay to go school, I mean I probably would have never gone to a school like Syracuse.
”It’s a huge deal that I have a full ride to a major school like Syracuse. My parents are very happy, my family is happy and my community is happy for me.”
Schools tried to tempt Jordan as signing day approached. He said programs like Virginia, West Virginia and Wake Forest all tried to get in touch in order to flip his verbal commitment. Wake Forest, in fact, pursued the hardest and the latest. Every time, however, his coach intervened and would not allow other schools to speak with Jordan.
It was that family bond that he saw within the Syracuse program, similar to that of his family, that never made him reconsider his original decision.
”That sealed the deal for me,” Fredericks said. “I was pleased that they were all a family. No one had a problem with each other. They all hung out and talked to each other. The coaches, the players, everybody. They just all cared and had the same kind of bond. It was pretty amazing.”
With ink put to paper and that paper subsequently faxed into Syracuse University the morning of National Signing Day, Fredericks is officially Orange. He will arrive over the summer to start his collegiate career as a running back for the big in-state school.
Now when he runs for touchdowns, makes the wrong cut, or dazzles with his elusiveness between the tackles, his mom will be screaming in larger stadiums. Ones with acoustics that are not made to allow an individual to be heard above all others. Venues that promote the sound of many over the sound of one.
Still, Fredericks knows that when the Carrier Dome crowd erupts, there is one voice that will stand out.
”Oh yes I definitely will hear her,” Fredericks said. “Coach (Bobby) Acosta said he could hear his mother’s whistle from when she was standing in the stands. So I believe I’ll be able to hear my mother scream.”