Deployed Dad Dresses up as Referee and Goes to His Son's Football Game

Ayesha Muhammad
Dec 06, 2021
10:20 P.M.
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A high school football player didn't expect his military dad to show up at his game. But when the head referee instructed the players to get used to the faces of all the other referees, the young player couldn't believe what he saw.


Reunions are bound to be special because they bring people together in the most touching ways. However, there's something so heartwarming about parents reuniting with their children, especially when it comes as a bolt from the blue. 

A high school football player from Helena, Alabama, was left stunned when he received a grand surprise on the field and one that he would never forget regardless of how much time went by. 

Fred Grooms III hugging his father who surprised him at his football game. | Photo: News



In October, Fred Grooms III played defensive back and was fully prepared for his football game at Helena High School. However, a part of him longed for his military dad to attend his game. 

His father, Army Major Fred Grooms Jr., was in the U.S. Army and had been deployed for a year. While he always tried his best to spare time to attend his son's important events, he had been unable to do so for the past year.

Major Grooms Jr. had spent a whole year in Kuwait, and he was aware that he had to make up to his beloved son somewhere deep down. He was scheduled to leave in November, but he decided to talk to his commander.


Army Major Fred Grooms Jr. pictured with his commander. | Photo: News


Resultantly, the military father was granted permission to return mid-October, just in time for him to attend his son's last game of the season, which he wasn't going to miss for the world. 


The happy father also shared that his son was three inches shorter than him the last time they met, and he had now become two inches taller than him.

He reached home in the early morning hours and hid himself and his baggage until the kids had left for school. His son was still in class when he quickly dressed up in a football official's uniform and drove to his school as fast as possible. 

Fred Grooms III pictured with his father, Major Grooms Jr. | Photo: News



When Major Grooms Jr. reached his son's school, he hid in a small room in the field house so his son wouldn't see him. When he saw the football players walking to the field house, he slowly headed to the sidelines. 

The military dad also wore a mask under his official's cap and tried to stay out of the player's path so that nobody would recognize him. When the players started walking to the middle of the field, it was time for Major Grooms Jr. to get into action. 

Grooms III had no idea what was going around him when the head referee called the players' attention. As he conducted the coin toss before the game, he asked all the players to get used to the faces of all the other referees. 


Grooms III shaking hands with his father who was disguises as a referee. | Photo: News


The young footballer player shared how odd it felt to follow the head referee's instructions. He told NBC News: 


“I was kind of weirded out. The fact that they told me to look at every single one of the refs and memorize their face (sic)."

However, he obeyed the head referee's instructions, but as his father was still wearing a mask, he still didn't know anything. It was only when Major Grooms Jr. took off his mask, shook his son's hand, and hugged him tight that things finally fell into place.


The entire crowd was overwhelmed, and they began clapping as the father and son duo shared a warm hug. Major Grooms Jr. shared his sentiments in these words: 

“Watching him walk up unaware was really exciting, but then also kind of nerve-wracking because I hadn’t seen him in almost a year."

The happy father also shared that his son was three inches shorter than him the last time they met, and he had now become two inches taller than him. The heartwarming reunion has garnered several views from netizens online.