JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When the lights come on and the fighting tigers take the field, this is where you'll find Gary Beames walking up and down the sidelines, keeping a close watch on the team.
"I just basically want to help out the team that's the only one thing that I always want to do," Beames said.
As the equipment manager for Columbia High School Football, Beames spends 25 hours a week keeping the team on schedule as well as helping set up the practice and game-day field.
"Gary is a part of our family so what we have to do when a family member is down is build them up and show them support and we do that every day," said coach Brian Allen.
But football is more than a sport for this high school senior. It's a coping mechanism for the student who lost his father to stage-four lung cancer in February.
When asked if it gets to him, Beames says, "Yes ma'am."
His father's passing is too difficult to express as he reminisces about the man he used to watch football instead focusing on his teammates that have turned into a football family.
Beames says, "They got my back when I need it and I got there's when they need it."
In a time of need, Beames is pushing the passion he has for his father and the sport they shared together onto the field under the Friday night lights.
First Coast News