There is a reason why during the NFL and NBA draft, a lot of the times the first thing the athletes do after hearing their name called is hug their moms.
Moms play a huge role in the lives of young athletes. Whether it is putting a band aid on their cuts, providing comfort in rough times, driving them to practices or just simply being there in the stands, moms help young athletes in so many different and even unique ways.
Growing up, my mom was invaluable to my athletic experience. She was mostly a stay-at-home mom and helped my sister and I get to and from our events and getting us ready.
I played four sports in high school and my sister was an All-State gymnast and played three sports, so the amount of time we spent on athletic fields and at events was equivalent to a parent’s nightmare.
Sports moms sit in the stands and watch their kids either succeed or fail, and the latter is something that can be tough to watch. Nevertheless, they do it and support their kids through the highs and the lows.
I was a particularly average athlete, so for my mom to watch me place sixth at every track meet or strike out with the bases loaded on multiple occasions meant the world to me. I remember one specific circumstance where in a weekend travel baseball tournament, I went 0-for-16 from the plate.
And my mom was there for every swing and a miss.
Moms can sometimes make the strongest impressions on us when they are not here anymore.
Dallas Braden famously threw a perfect game for the Oakland Athletics on Mother’s Day in 2010. Braden lost his mother when he was a senior in high school after her battle with cancer.
Suffice to say, after he threw the final pitch of the perfect game there was not a dry eye on the field.
I grew up in Maryland and played travel baseball. We would travel to Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and all over the East Coast every single weekend.
I have to imagine there were times my mom would have loved to relax and take the weekend to chill out, but she never said anything negative and traveled to almost every tournament.
If she was not there, she was traveling to gymnastics meets with my sister.
One of the things that is truly amazing about moms and parents in general, is the lack of appreciation they get sometimes.
If I could travel back in time, the one thing I would do more is simply take a second and say “Thank you” to my mom and my dad for all they did for me in my athletic career. But since this is Mother’s Day, I am specifically thanking my mom.
I remember watching the 2019 NBA finals at a friend’s house and after the Raptors wrapped up the series and hoisted the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy, they showed a video of Kawhi Leonard hugging his mom. My friend then said something that has resonated with me ever since — “It doesn’t feel real until you hug your mom.”
This is something I have found to be incredibly true. Whether it is good or bad, nothing beats hugging your mom.
So, to all the moms out there that spend all their free time at a diamond, court, course, or field, thank you. It means the world to your kids, even if they don’t show it.
And to all the young athletes in any sport, thank your mom. They will appreciate it more than you know.
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