• Ode to my biggest fan

    * Note: This column originally appeared in The Davis Enterprise on May 9, 2004. It has been slightly tweaked.

    Highs and lows are both a part of being involved in sports. Every athlete’s life is filled with successes and failures.

    Almost all of us at one time have experienced the thrill of victory – whether it’s a hit in Little League or completing a 10-kilometer run – and the agony of defeat – whether striking out or tripping at mile two.

    Perhaps if athletes were wired like normal people, they’d stop after the first failure. But something drives them, somethings pushes them to get up and continue.

    Perhaps it’s a drive to get better or the annoying voice inside that says, “Don’t quit.”

    Years after I hung up my cleats and put my basketball away, I can still hear that voice. It sounds a lot like my mother.

    My mother was and is my biggest fan. She attended all my school games home and away. She didn’t always know the rules, but she knew how to cheer, she knew how to encourage.

    Other players on my team wanted to be adopted in my family. Their parents weren’t always there. I didn’t realize how cool my mom was until my friends started calling her “Mom.”

    There were times when Mom still wasn’t cool. Like the time I was knocked unconscious in a basketball game and she tried to come out of the stands and kill the referee (so I was told later). Thankfully, she never made it down from the crowded stands.

    Her devotion to me and my athletic endeavors took us just about everywhere. When we lived in Colorado, she’d drove our truck as I rode on the school bus for a three-hour drive from Granby to Denver. In California, it seemed like every other week took us to some small Bay Area town.

    Each game, each season was an adventure. We each had our role. I was the gung-ho crazy on the court, field or track, and she was the loud woman in the stands.

    Regardless of the weather, she was there. Sometimes she just wasn’t as close. One softball game, she pulled the car as close as she could to the field and sat inside while we played in a freezing wind. Instead of clapping, she’d honk the horn. Our team did our best to give her plenty to honk about.

    She even continued to come to my recreation league games after high school. I started to think she was crazy, but now I know it’s because she just loved to watch me have fun.

    Despite not playing any organized ball for several years, my mother continues to be my biggest fan.

    Although now she raves about my writing instead of a triple to right field.

    You may think this has been a sappy tribute to my mother, and it has. But if you take the first letter of each paragraph, you’ll see it’s a wish for all mothers.

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