The women’s basketball team at Franklin College in Indiana has a not-so-secret weapon: the Grizzly Grandparents, a fan club based at a nearby assisted living community.
Each player is matched with a couple of residents of the Indiana Masonic Home, who commit to supporting her on the court and off.
Junior Sarah Taylor, a forward, was paired with Fred and Fran Carter.
“They’re so energetic,” Taylor recently told a TV reporter. “They’re always there cheering me on.”
“They’re always yelling, they’re yelling at the refs. One game I got hit and had some blood coming from my head and they stood up and yelled, ‘That’s my granddaughter!'”
“It doesn’t matter whether I am having a bad or a good game; they’re always cheering for me in the stands, waiting for me after home games, and there to give me a big hug and provide important moral support.”
Taylor’s relationship with the Carters goes way beyond basketball, she said.
“They’ll have cookouts with me. We’ll have Christmas celebrations. Fred is really good with cars, and I actually have a really bad car, so he’s always there.”
The fan club was founded a decade ago and now has more than 50 members, the eldest of whom is 105.