Fan In The Stands: Former Helias Player Stays Involved
JEFFERSON CITY - Tom Shimmens is no stranger to Helias football.
"Helias is a great school, just really love supporting it. It means a lot to me," said Shimmens. "Helias is really important, and I hope my grandkids can go there, and their grandkids can go there, too."
Shimmens played for the Crusaders, finishing is senior season 32 years ago.
"I was a defensive end, and we had moderate success. Our team was average. We didn't have great success our senior year," said Shimmens.
But he saw that success from the stands - as a parent, watching his three sons play at Helias.
"Without a doubt, the year my youngest son was a senior when we went to the state finals was sure a lot of fun," said Shimmens.
But now Shimmens' spot is in the press box. For more than 10 years, he's been the scoreboard clock operator. And it's all because of his sons.
"When you're down there watching, it's gets pretty nerve-wracking. So I come up here to kind of focus me on doing that," said Shimmens. "I can holler a little more from up here and nobody would here me. So it worked out pretty good for me," he added.
His son Jay, who played quarterback for Helias in that state title game in 2008, jokes with his dad about moving up to the press box.
"He didn't like being around other people very often," said Jay.
But there is a more serious side.
"He didn't enjoy everybody criticizing his kids if they did," added Jay.
Now, it doesn't matter that his kids no longer attend Helias.
"It's a great view, it's a great way to watch the games. I just really enjoy it."
He will always be there, but on one condition.
"I hope to do it as long as they want me, as long as I can climb up three flights of steps," Tom said with a laugh.