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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Meet the softball Sugar Daddies

Ryan+Sebesta%2C+Tyler+Volk%2C+Cole+Bishop%2C+Andrew+Bobo+and+Amado+Martinez+are+five+of+the+Sugar+Daddies%2C+a+group+that+supports+the+A%26amp%3BM+softball+team+at+every+home+game.
Photo by Photo by: Brian Okosun

Ryan Sebesta, Tyler Volk, Cole Bishop, Andrew Bobo and Amado Martinez are five of the Sugar Daddies, a group that supports the A&M softball team at every home game.

For the visiting opponent, the non-stop banter and chanting that emerges from the stands at the Aggie Softball Complex can cause a distraction. But for the Texas A&M softball program, the people behind the noise hold a place in each player’s heart — this loud group of students is known as the Softball Sugar Daddies.

The Sugar Daddies were formed following the first Texas A&M softball season and have supported the maroon and white ever since. Members attend every home game and at times take their antics on the road.

Tracy Rutherford, the on-campus sponsor in charge of coordinating the group, has been involved with the Sugar Daddies for eight years. Rutherford said that although the Sugar Daddies’ objective is to give Texas A&M an advantage over their opponents, their mission is to try and make the game an enjoyable event for all of those in attendance.

“Their goal is to get into the opponent’s head, but in a family friendly way,” Rutherford said. “We talk about being able to make the pitcher on the other team laugh, distract the batter and just create a different atmosphere. We’re the only university that has a group like this.”

Texas A&M head coach Jo Evans has had a front-row seat to the Sugar Daddies for the last 13 years. Evans said the Sugar Daddies never fail to exceed the expectations she has of them and is thankful for their unwavering support throughout the season.

“They’re a huge source of energy and enthusiasm at our ballpark,” Evans said. “They do a great job on creating a game-day atmosphere, which we as a team can feed off of.”

For agricultural economics senior Ryan Sebesta, the interaction and relationships built with the Aggie softball players and their families is an experience which he holds dearly. Sebesta said the support they receive from the families is an added bonus to being a Sugar Daddy.

“It’s been a blast, just being around the team,” Sebesta said. “They’re just a great group of girls. Their families are the best. They thank us for our support every time we’re at the game. They treat us like if we were one of their own it’s just amazing to be with them.”

The family environment has been especially kind to the youngest member of the group. Nine-year-old Conner Rutherford, son of on-campus sponsor Tracy, has been a supporter of Aggie softball for the majority of his life. Much like his older counterparts, Connor dedicates his time cheering on the Aggies as well as getting to interact with them off the field.

“My favorite thing about being a Sugar Daddy is being able to support the girls and getting to know them,” Conner said. “We’re here to keep them motivated and going.”

Entering her final season as a Texas A&M softball player, senior outfielder Cali Lanphear has grown fond of the Sugar Daddies. Lanphear said having such a unique group like the Sugar Daddies allows the team to play at its full potential.

“They’re like our own home-field advantage,” Lanphear said. “They’re just such a big part of our atmosphere here at A&M, it’s really something nobody has. They do a good job of grabbing the other team’s attention which throws them off of their game, giving us a sort of advantage.”

The Sugar Daddies were at their best earlier this year when the Aggies hosted the University of Indiana for the Aggies Classic. So much so that, despite losing to the Aggies, Indiana head coach Michelle Gardner couldn’t help but be impressed with the Sugar Daddies for their performance in the stands.  
“They were awesome,” Gardner said. “I loved the way they cheer on A&M and have some fun with the opponent, but keep it classy. It was all in good fun, and they made the atmosphere really enjoyable. They were creative and never let up the whole game. It was impressive.”

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