Traditions of the Charlotte Cobras
There are numerous Cobra Traditions that have developed over the years as players, coaches and staff have built a life-long relationship based around cooperation, family, and service. Some traditions are serious and some are more on the funny side. The inside scoop on some of the more notable Cobra traditions:
"Charlotte Cobras! You Know!"
What is the OC?
OC stands for Original Cobra. This includes the founding members and players, coaches and staff who struck out in late 2005 and the 2006 inaugural season to make the organization successful both on the field and more importantly helping the community through charitable donations and events. These people are appreciated for their effort with the OC designation.
Who was Hazel Richardson?
Hazel Richardson was a long time coach for the Cobras. Hazel worked for the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department in Charlotte and was a lifelong lover of football. Hazel volunteered his time as a special teams coach for the Cobras and built many long lasting, deep relationships with several players and coaches.
During the 2014 season Hazel would come to practice as he always did, however, he often would often sit in a chair and coach from that position. Everyone wondered what was the problem, and without a hint of sadness or bitterness Hazel would simply say that his legs were hurting and his doctor told him to take it easy. Hazel never complained and continued coaching throughout the 2014 season never letting on about bigger issues that he was actually facing.
It came with great surprise and sadness when the team found out on July 14th, 2014, that Hazel had passed away from bone cancer. Hazel stayed strong to the end and did what he loved so much right until his last breath. Hazel’s wife, Lisa, has remarked that Hazel loved what the Cobras did for her husband and that he was so proud to be a part of the team. Lisa is currently a staff member (secretary) for the team and if you speak to her she will tell you that without the Cobra organization she would not have made it through Hazel’s death due to both financial and family support from the team.
Hazel will always be remembered as a member of the organization for his enthusiasm, love of the game and team, and his strength both mentally and physically. This attitude and feeling were obvious at Hazel’s funeral where most of the players, coaches, and staff attended. The term “Big Haze Strong” lead the charge for the teams 2015 National Championship drive. (Read 2015 season synopsis)
“Holding Church” In the NPSFL almost all of the games are played on a Saturday afternoon in the spring. During away games the Cobras would usually take a charter bus to and from the host city. Holding Church would happen during the bus ride home on Sunday of course. Unfortunately for the bus driver the charter bus typically had a microphone up front for occasions when the bus would be used for tours. One of the veteran players (and current Defensive Coordinator) Mo Moorer would take this opportunity to “hold church” on the Sunday bus rides back to Charlotte. If a player had a moment in the game that needed to be pointed out, Mo was sure to use the microphone to let the team know of the situation. Someone who got a cramp was “hit by a sniper” and if you missed a block or tackle Mo made sure that the rest of the team prayed for a better outcome next time. Holding Church became both a time to look forward to , as well as a time to lay low if you had a bad moment during the game, but fun was had by all.
Down the Middla
“Down the Middla” What in the world does this mean? During warmups either during practice or pre-game, former defensive lineman Cary Flythe’s particular accent was heard more as “Down the middla” on stretching exercises rather than, “Down the middle.” You know a current or former Cobra player simply by listening to them during a stretch if they say, “DOWN THE MIDDLA!”
On a More Serious Note
The Cobras always recite the Lord’s Prayer after practice and games, regardless of the situation or outcome. This keeps the team focused on our mission to serve and the true reason of playing football. Watch the end of any Cobras game and you will first hear words of comradery and the spirit of competition from the Cobras first and only Head Coach, Eddie Levins, between fellow public safety professions determined to serve the community, and then you will watch as players from both sides come together and “touch someone” as we recite the Lord’s Prayer in unity.