Few people miss the signs Steve Hoffa and his wife, Vicki, have decorated their yard with.
A 32-foot banner in the front yard of the Hoffas' Harlem home declares its support for Reese Hoffa, Steve's adoptive son and Vicki's stepson, who will compete for an Olympic gold medal this week in the shot put.
Another sign hanging in the trees is painted with the Olympic rings. Passing motorists have joined the throng of official "Reese Rooters," as Steve and Vicki call them -- those pulling for the Lakeside High School graduate to bring home gold.
"We get this all day," Steve said after a vehicle honked on its way past his home. "They'll stop and say, 'We just want you to know we're rooting for Reese.'"
The time of day makes little difference. Steve Hoffa said he'll be in bed and here a honk and shout of "Go, Reese!"
If the Reese Rooters become a sanctioned group, Reese's stepnieces, Emma and Anna Morris, would probably be its charter members. The girls were visiting their grandmother, Vicki, a week before Reese was scheduled to compete. And after showing off the heavily decorated front yard, Emma, 10, wanted to reveal the "Reese Dance."
The celebration was captured in a poster hanging in a room in Steve Hoffa's house dedicated to his son's accomplishments. A framed photograph above the couch was signed "To Dad and Vicki, thanks for showing me how to live life."
Steve and the rest of the Reese Rooters will be glued to the television at their home Friday, when the final is slated to be held. They have been through this before -- four years ago when Reese traveled to Athens, Greece . But after finishing second at the U.S. trials, Reese was victimized by a controversial foul call at the Olympics and finished 22nd.
He's ready for a second shot, and Steve Hoffa said he's more encouraged than he was four years ago.
"He's a seasoned pro now," Steve said. "He knows what he's got to do. I know he can do it."
Hoffa has seen his son conquer similar goals in the past. He tried to instill a mind-set of tenacity in Reese from a young age.
"You have to set goals in front of yourself," he said. "And that's what Reese does. Then he accomplishes each one of them. Right now, he's at the biggest goal he's ever set, to win that gold."
For the Hoffas, this week's competition will bring an end to a whirlwind of attention. Steve last talked to Reese when he left for Beijing, but he has still found himself busy with various media interviews and phone calls. And, of course, the well-wishers from the highway.
"I didn't think I would (get tired of it), but that's part of it," Steve said. "If it's anything to help Reese, I'm glad to do it."
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