Behind many great athletes are parents that stand beside them and support them through the highs and lows of every season.

From washing victory stains out of uniforms to driving players to practices, almost every athlete has a support system that runs beyond their teammates on the field, court, track or ice.

For some athletes at Ohio, their parents are what grounds them behind the close victories and brutal losses. 

“The driving force (for our family) was simply that it was hockey,” Glenn Rhame, father of senior forward Derek Rhame, said in an email. “It was a huge part of my social life for all the years up to college and quite a few fond family memories traveling to games and tournaments.”

Sports parents can be stigmatized for “helicoptering,” or being overly involved in their child’s life, especially parents who have children that have played a sport as long as former hockey forward Michael Harris has.

“When Michael first came to us and he said he wanted to play hockey after watching The Mighty Ducks and stuff, we go, ‘Really?’ ” Craig Harris, Michael's father, said. “We were terrified.”

For student athletes and their families, sports become more than just a game. Sports become a lifestyle filled with life lessons. 

“When she gets a little frustrated, which is inevitable, we try to pick her back up,” Doug Lawrence, a professor at OU and the father of OU freshman jumper Abby Lawrence, said. “And when things are going really well we try to throw in a dose of realism. It’s a matter of managing success and managing disappointment.”

Growing up, student athletes have an innate desire to make their parents proud. A nod to the sometimes hidden support system. 

According to a Washington Post report in 2015, 26 percent of parents of high school athletes hope their kids go on to play professional sports.

Glenn Rhame said hockey has built a mutual bond of love between him and Derek.

Along with the push to continue athletics late into their lives, student athlete parents also have a prominent role in how, why and where athletes play.

For freshman women's basketball guard Domonique Doseck, her parents played a large role in why she stayed in Athens and joined coach Bob Boldon's squad. 

“My parents are pretty calm,” Doseck said. “My dad was a coach so he kind of sits there. He doesn’t say anything.”

While some parents keep their composure, Doseck said it’s some of her relatives who get "overly enthused" when the Athens-native checks into the game.

“My family, they go crazy,” Doseck said. “I completely tune it out because if I don’t, I’m going to get embarrassed. My face is going to go all red, I just don’t do well with all of this attention coming on me.”

The amount of work that goes into being a student athlete can be exhausting, Craig Harris said. 

Most sports at Ohio practice anywhere from five to six days a week on top of school work.

“I think the biggest thing, being a parent of a student athlete, (is) making sure that the student is a student first and an athlete second,” Craig Harris said. “Making sure that they know they’re there to go to school first and then being an athlete is actually hindsight because you want to go for the education.”

Through all of the highs and lows, wins and losses, challenges and triumphs, athletes persevere.

And when senior year arrives, when many student athletes choose to end their competitive careers, it is a bittersweet feeling for not only the player but their parents as well. 

Five senior hockey players recently said their farewells to Bird Arena. They weren't alone as their parents were also recognized for the young men they have stood beside during their athletic career.

“I felt nothing but overwhelming love and pride,” Laurie Rahme, mother of Derek, said. “All the unspoken words and emotions that surrounded those five boys and their families, knowing that the experience of the last four years at OU will never be again.”