It’s been said in the sports world that a Mom is unquestionably their sons and daughters biggest fan. Fiercely loyal to their children, whether they’re a star player or one that sees limited playing time. Starting in Little League and for some on into college, Moms show out in full support, sport after sport, year after year.
I was fortunate to have a Mom like that.
She learned about sports that I played, and learned well. She could keep a baseball book better than most. Tough, but fair as she was in life, everybody had to earn hits, for if she thought the play should have been made an error went in the book and the batting average dipped. Her book showed pitch count, where base hits landed and backward K’s signifying a strikeout looking.
In basketball seasons she didn’t keep stats, just a sharp eye on the action. She grew to understood the game well. Man vs. zone, what a box out meant, and why rebounding and taking care of the ball, while not as flashy as scoring, more times that not proved the difference between a win and a loss. At night’s end she might share who shot it too much and who needed to shoot more. Most times she was on the money.
In terms of officials, where people can get a little crazy, to Mom they were just part of the game, although I’m sure she thought I got fouled every time I drove to the basket. I do remember after a high school baseball game in my junior year Mom having a conversation with the home plate umpire.
We had won the game 3-0 and I had thrown that day. We’re picking up the equipment in the dugout and I see her getting her point across to the official behind the backstop. When I got home and asked her about it, Mom, who sat in the bleachers right behind home plate, said she told him his strike zone was too tight and that there were corners on that plate. This coming after a win. You’ve gotta love that.
I think of how much grass stain and dirt was washed out of baseball pants and how many socks washed and folded in basketball seasons. I remember one night forgetting the uniform socks we wore for basketball at the Valley. Played that night in Cambridge in just my white socks to which a friend of the family kidded Mom saying must be she hadn’t done the laundry. She assured him she had and that the socks were on my bedroom chair. She was right, because they always were.
Finally, if I had a string of good games and everyone was patting me on the back, she had the ability to keep me grounded never wanting me to think I was all that. More importantly, when I struggled during a season, her undying support was at it’s strongest.
On this Mother’s Day I hope everyone takes the time to celebrate with their Moms, or to remember the woman that in the game of life, was far and away our biggest fan.