It is Mother’s Day 2009 in Baltimore and we are all rewarded with beautiful weather and thoughts of Mom on this special Sunday. I would not have been half the sports fan that I am today without my Mom. She was a big fan of Baltimore sports and she was also one of my biggest fans as I competed in athletic events my entire life.
I can remember staying up late with my mother watching Monday Night Football with Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell and “Dandy” Don Meredith. My mother was not a big Cosell fan, but she kept her opinion to herself, even when the legendary sportscaster would say something incindiery to try and get a rise out of the viewing audience. Many times my mother would doze off during the game. No surprise considering the MNF games would go past midnight just about every week. I would always say to her, “Mom, why don’t you go to bed?” Her response was always, “What’s the score?”, and she would fight the sandman to stay up to the very end of the game. Another great memory I have about my mother and those Monday night games is she let me stay up to watch the conclusion. When you are a kid of 10 or 11, and it’s a school night, that is a big freaking deal. She also made sure my Dad signed all the kids up to be Junior Orioles back in the day so we would attend at least 6 or 7 games a year. She didn’t always go with us, but she always wanted to get the play by play when we got home.
I was very lucky to have a mother who was my biggest fan in the athletic arena as well. As a kid I played baseball, soccer, lacrosse, wrestling and football. A lot of running around to be sure and with nine brothers and sisters, my mother could not be at all places at all times, but she never missed the big sporting events like a championship baseball game or the finals of a wrestling tournament.
Wrestling was my Mom’s favorite sport to watch and lucky for her, it was the athletic event that I had the most success. Thanks to an early retirement from a job with the county, my mother had additional free time and never missed one of my matches. I attended John Carroll and we travelled all over the state for tournaments and matches and I could count on my mother to be at everyone. Even with a huge crowd, I could definitely hear Mom cheering me on. I will never forget her letting me stay home from school a little later on some days if I had a match so I could have some extra rest, or the special meals she would prepare after a particularily tough meet.
As my mother approached her 70’s, she became an even bigger sports fan. Dad and Mom got Orioles season tickets and would take the bus down to Camden Yards at least 15 times a season. When my parents had their season tickets, those were a lot of tough seasons to sit through, but she enjoyed being in the crowd and cheering on her Birds. It’s funny because it was a lot like when you are a little kid and the game itself doesn’t really matter, you just wanna be at the ballpark. That was my mom. I guess life comes full circle.
My mother did not get much of an opportunity to attend many Ravens games, but she always rocked the purple and made certain she was in front of a television on Sunday afternoons. Her favorite was to be in front of someone else’s tv and at a Ravens gameday party! The best part of my mother and football was, she knew the game. No need for explanations or breakdowns of what was happening on the field. All those late Monday Night Football games prepared her for anything that happened when the Ravens were playing.
It’s no surprise when the TV cameras shoot a close-up of a professional athlete, they invariably say, “Thanks Mom!” Today is their day and we should all be thankful to mothers. I know I am, especially since my Mom helped me gravitate towards a love for sports. Thanks Mom, indeed!