Stephanie Daniels, Features Editor

As the holiday season approaches us, and the weather starts to dwindle into the colder temperatures, most of us are finding ways to get out of the cold. Cardinal Ritter College Prep Lions Varsity football team is out in the cold weather training for something huge; the state championships at Mizzou. And some friendly faces in our art department here at the University of Missouri-St. Louis  are supporting the team through the kind act of painting the team’s cleats.

Nicholas Coulter, junior, media studies brought some of his talented friends together this past Wednesday in the Fine Arts building, to paint the cleats of not only the student athletes, but the coach as well. The kids on Cardinal Ritter College Prep Lions football team and Coulter have built a solid relationship. “They are good kids, I stay in touch with them. The last time I talked with them, they showed me their report cards, and they were all A’s and B’s” says Coulter. He attends some practices, and makes sure to keep in touch with the kids throughout the season.

But Coulter isn’t the only one making an impact on the team. His fellow artists and friends make up the support team for the Lions as well. Painter Alvin Lewis, senior, fine arts, as well as Damon Addison, senior, fine arts, and Brock Seals, senior, fine arts all came together to paint the team’s cleats. “If you look good, you play good” said Seals as hip-hop music plays in the background and laughs fill the room around him. The three of them painting the cleats as Coulter walks around the room taking pictures of them at work. Each of them painting a cleat with a different design and theme. Each player on the team got to request what they wanted on the cleats, and the three of them executed the requests with precision. Referencing notes made, they intently danced the brushes over the their canvases; the cleats.

Although they meant business as they made sure that the players visions came to life on the shoes. This bunch was very much at play. Jokes being tossed about in the room paired well with the intense attention to detail. One could tell that they all had a relationship with one another that could really be felt in the breath of the room.

The task of the cleats really transformed into a communal experience. The room sort of faded into the background and the sharing of memories, and laughter filled the spaces. This group of artists painted with more than just purpose, they painted with feeling and gratitude not only for one another, but art itself. “You can tell a lot through painting. You can tell a story, I started painting so I could tell my story,” said Addison. For all of them, art influenced their lives in a major way, and they were happy to be able to use that influence to impact others.

The painting of Cardinal Ritter College Prep Lion’s cleats will surely impact the team, and I’m sure impacted the painters involved in getting these young men together for their big game! The Lions are set to face Trinity Catholic in the 2018 MSHSAA Class 3 Football Championship Dec. 1 at 11 a.m. central time. The final score was 45 to 19 in favor of Trinity Catholic. “We will be back” tweeted the Cardinal Ritter, and I’m sure they will!