Mother’s Day is a special day. No immunity for a sports fan. Over the years, moms have been a little more noticeable in the sports world. I am such a huge Celtics fan… but even if you aren’t, then can’t deny that it’s awesome to see how into a game Ray Allen’s mom gets. So in the spirit of Mother’s Day, I wanna share a few more moms in sports and then briefly tell you why this holiday is meaningful to me.
Mrs. McGee… the most shameless example of moms in sports. It was cool to see her support her son in the dunk contest. But come on… what was with the Dr. J kiss? It was either a case of a momma trying to get some Dr. J medicine… or she just has no sense of humiliation. Either way, JaVale didn’t win. And also he might be retarded.
Lebron James’ mom. I could look into what her name was… but let’s call her Miss West. As in Miss Delonte West. True story or not, Lebron’s mom is officially a mom in sports. On a personal note, I hope the story is true. Because I think Delonte’s career as a journeyman could get him a ring before Lebron gets one. And then I picture this scenario:
Miss West sitting at the head of the Thanksgiving table. Delonte on her left, Lebron on her right. They close their eyes and they begin to say thanks.
MISS WEST: Let us be thankful on this day of thanks for that with which we have been blessed. We are thankful to have each other…
LEBRON: I wish dinner had a fourth quarter so I could just disappear.
MISS WEST: We have our beautiful championship rings.
DELONTE: I pawned mine for another guitar case of guns. But I still have this sweet NBA Champion t-shirt and hat.
LEBRON: I’m taking my eating talents to the kiddie table.
Mrs. Manning… the matriarch of football. She sacrificed her lady parts so that we may have the greatest QB to ever play and also the goofiest-looking QB to ever play. And just to be fair, she pretends to be a Saints fan. Well played, Mrs. Manning. I’d pick you in backyard football. Way before anyone picks Andrew Luck’s mom.
Mrs. Allen. I’m sorry, this is just awesome to see. We love you, Flo.
As for me… well, Mother’s Day ties into sports in a unique way. See, most of you follow sports because your dad watches sports. Or your dad tried to turn you into a Little League all-star. Or because sports is what men do. But while my dad does watch sports… I’m the sports fan I am because of my mom.
My mom coached high school basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, bowling, football, whatever. She wasn’t the first female to coach male sports, but she was ahead of her time. She knows the rulebooks in and out. And she knows the history of sports. She got it from my grandfather, who played semi-pro baseball in the Orioles system. And she passed it on to me.
**Quick story. My mom was a gym teacher for Southern, in Maryland. And she had this one kid who wanted to play basketball. He wanted to play but he wasn’t getting a chance to try out because he was too short. So my mom went to the coach and said this kid really needed to get a look. Long story short, the kid got a tryout. And he made the team. Then he transferred schools to Dunbar. And then he became a star. His name? Muggsy Bogues. Yeah, without my mom’s intuition, Muggsy may have never played in the NBA.
I remember when I was in kindergarten (I think), and my mom signed me up for T-ball. I didn’t want no part of that shit. So I grabbed into the ladder of my bunkbed in a death-grip. And my mom picked my ass up and carried me and the ladder and threw me in the back of her car. She drove me to the field and left me there so that I couldn’t figure out a way to leave. And I ended up loving baseball.
Then I decided I wanted to play catcher. But I sucked. Passed balls, every pitch. So my mom used my love of shiny things against me. And she bribed me—for every ball that I stopped, I got a dime. And to this day, my mom says she never had to pay me more than 50 cents a game.
Then when I started to develop skills as a catcher, she asked the coach if we could take the catching gear to our house in between games. And she made me put on the gear in our backyard and threw balls at me. Not to catch. No, she short-hopped that ish to me. Made me block balls.
And she handled the scoring book. I remember times when I thought I got a hit. And I’d look at that book and instead of giving me a hit, she ruled it a E5 or an E4. There I was, thinking I was getting nearly a hit every game. But when you look back at the records, I batted like 2-for-the-season.
Then I started getting UHs. They counted as hits… but she called them “Ugly Hits”. Tough critic.
I played other sports too; I played soccer and I wrestled. And my mom was just as hard on me as she was in baseball. At the time, I thought my mom was crazy. She was way worse than those sports dads that make a scene pretending to know more than they do. She wasn’t afraid to yell at the umpire… and usually she was right. Nowadays, I can only hope my mom can teach her grandchildren how to be athletes.
**My sister grew up as a gymnast and that didn’t mean a difference because my mom coached her gymnastics team.
These days, I don’t play any sports (other than summer basketball, where I have a devastating 2-on-2 partner named Holland… Team Shake and Bake is something like 200-2). But my mom is still getting her sports fix. I’ve come home many nights and found her in her chair in the basement watching the end of a west coast basketball game. I’ve seen her doing puzzles on her table while the Orioles game is on. One year her bracket won a March Madness pool I entered it in.
And no matter what… if the Celtics are on TV, my mom is watching. Even if I lived on the opposite side of the world, I know I can turn on a Celtics game and my mom will be at home, watching the same game. Screaming at the TV when they turn it over. And ready to call me in the morning to talk about what happened.
For that, I will always love my mom. Every day there’s a sport being played, it’s Mother’s Day.