A cloud of pink smoke burst from behind the Gordo High School football team as they broke through their banner before the start of last week’s homecoming victory over Holt.

It was in that moment the entire Greenwave community, along with head coach Ryan Lolley, learned what only his wife, Breanne, had already known.

Lolley was expecting a baby girl, and her 50-plus big brothers sporting green uniforms, along with her older sisters, Lydia, 8, and Scarlett, 1, couldn't have been happier.

“I was excited about it. People always ask you what you want, and more than anything you pray for a healthy child,” Lolley said. “I am blessed with two girls and I am glad to be getting another one.”

The gesture epitomizes the strong bonds and relationships both coaches and players form in high school athletics. The interactions extend far beyond the playing field. A team becomes its own unique family and strengthens a community unlike anything else. It’s only natural those ties involve the children and spouses of the coaches that devote their lives to the sport.

“My players are around my family all the time and around my kids, and I look at my players as sons,” Lolley said. “They are a part of my family, and to be able to share it with them, it was awesome and I wouldn't want to do it any other way.”

Lolley isn’t the only West Alabama coach who has included his team in a gender reveal this season. American Christian Academy offensive coordinator Brian Newton sent a puff of pink powder flying after punting a tiny football in front of his players during a September practice.

Players led Newton in a clap leading up to his kick and erupted in cheer, bouncing about their coach in celebration while the pastel dust settled.

“It was one of those things where we just spend so much time with all those guys during the summer and all year round in the weight room and 6 a.m. during the winter and then all football season,” Newton said. “You see them more than your family and so I thought it would be real special to not only share with my wife and my son but the entire team.”

Like Lolley, Newton’s wife, Brittany, was the only one aware of the gender and that their son, 4-year-old Colton, would be getting a little sister.

“To see how emotional and excited the guys were and all the coaches were, that made it extremely special to share that kind of moment with not just me and my wife, but the football team,” Newton said. “We are a really close group over at ACA, and that moment right there, how excited they were right there, made the moment that much more special."