But you see, Mom, there’s a reason. Today is your birthday.
As you are reading this on March 31st, 2010, you are celebrating your 70th birthday. This just can’t be possible, can it? Or maybe it can be since I am only two weeks away from my 50th.
None of us can really understand where time goes or how it passes so quickly. The one thing that matters most is how we spend our time.
Mom, you have spent and continue to spend your time well. I thank you for being the best Mom anyone could ever have. I hope this is the first of many birthday wishes you receive today.
Anyone that knows you is aware that you are the best of people. What I want to talk about today is what a great sports mom you are. Dads always get the recognition for the sports connection with their children. In reality, Moms are always there behind the scenes making everything possible. This column celebrates not only you Mom, but also sports Moms everywhere and what they do.
Thanks, Mom, for allowing Dad to hang the basket in the garage when I was about four years old. That is where I first learned to shoot. It was my own Boston Garden.
Thanks so much for later putting me a goal up in the driveway. I had one of the top three courts in Trigg County. The other two were McUpton and Bill Fort’s Goodnite Motel Court. Steve Guess and I went on to amass an 88-game winning streak in our fabled driveway. It lasted until Marty Jaggers and Danny Sigler finally took us down.
How about the hedge that surrounded our back yard on the corner of Third Street and Wharton Road? Even though you and Dad kept it trimmed, it still rose to a height of around eight feet at times.
Speaking of time, I think it is time everyone knows just what was inside our version of Wrigley Field. There were goalposts made of tree saplings that Dad constructed. Bill Fort and I kicked seemingly endless field goals through those saplings on brisk fall days. A pitchers mound rose from the southwest corner of the yard. About 45 feet away from the mound was a homemade version of home plate. No telling how many lunches Dad went without because I wanted him to catch for me on his lunch break from the barbershop. (sorry, my first tear just appeared)
Thanks for not complaining about the path in our yard where no grass would grow. That was where Dad and I would run our old Smokey pass play when we were playing football. Dad would quarterback for both teams. The game would be against any neighborhood kid who dared to take me on. I would run toward the doghouse of Dad’s birddog Smokey, only to then make a 45-degree cut to the clothesline post. It worked every time.
Thanks Mom for understanding the broken windows. There is a price to pay for living in the middle of a makeshift sports complex.
Thanks also for helping me to figure out how to put on shoulder pads as an eight-year-old football player. They were like an early version of the rubix cube to me.
Many thanks also for all of the times you rebounded shots for me in the driveway until Dad got home. I wonder how many times you kept supper warm while we finished what seemed like a crucial game of three-on-three.
I have to thank you for some other things too, Mom. Thank you for banning the new boy named Frank from playing in our yard. If you remember, his language was awful. You and about six other Moms banned him from their respective yards until he learned how to talk right.
Thanks also for breaking up some of the innocent backyard fights that broke out from time to time. Hey, guys have got to figure out how to settle disputes. Come to think of it, you might have been the first athletic trainer in Turner Addition as you often tended to my sports injuries as well as those of my friends.
Thanks, Mom, for making our home open to all my friends, no matter their color. I still remember the time I brought home eight guys from Western to spend the weekend. We played in a Booster Club-sponsored basketball tournament. When I run into those guys, white and black, they still talk about the hospitality you and Dad showed them when they came to Cadiz.
Thanks, Mom, for attending hundreds of my games as a player and a coach. Thanks also, Mom, for all of the miles you and Dad logged going to Zack and Zeke’s games.
I would also like to give you a big thank you for never being critical of my coaches when I played. You taught me a lot about how to be positive, accept responsibility and overcome adversity.
Lastly, Mom, April 7th of this year will mark three years since Dad left us. When you talk about him, it seems like you just talked to him yesterday. As a matter of fact, you probably did. I have never seen two people love each other so. But, I thank you for going on with your life. You have to. I am so proud to see you volunteering at church and the hospital and such. I know Dad is proud of you for this.
Most of all, Mom, thanks for showing me how to live a good life. Perhaps, the best way I can thank you is to live a good productive life myself and instill in my children the value and virtues that you instilled in me. I’m trying my best.
OT: I have always said I get my competitive spirit from my mother.
Double OT: Does anyone realize how many UK games my mom now watches? She is a big fan.
Triple OT: I hope Mom gets a flood of happy birthday calls.
Quadruple OT: Thanks for the great letter from Joe Graham. I hope it can be shared with our great readers next week.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.