Those of us who grew up watching sports in the 70s remember the almost obligatory shot of the athlete on the sidelines mouthing the words, "Hi, Mom.'' NFL Films even incorporated it into a package once.
You don't see that much anymore. Unfortunately.
While our dads usually get connected with our upbringing in athletics, our mothers played their own part in helping foster the love of sports for a lot of us. We should remember that every Mother's Day. In fact, we should celebrate it any day.
Think about how often she shuttled us to our games when we were little, stayed in the stands and supported us, smiled and congratulated us when we had a good game - maybe more importantly - was there to offer us consolation and encouragement when things didn't go well.
I remember practicing my pitching against a wall when one of my throws got away and broke a window. I was 10, and I thought I might not make it to 11, but my mother - who those closest to me know I call "Mum'' - didn't get angry. She knew how important playing and trying to get better was to me.
My mother had a bigger influence on my love of sports than a lot of kids during my youth. Although a wrestler before he emigrated from Europe, my father was an Orthodox Christian priest who traveled a lot between his churches. By the time I was born, he was in poor health. There just weren't opportunities for us to play sports together.
He died a few weeks before my ninth birthday, and raising me fell to my mother and one of her elder sisters. My sports development fell to my mother, too.
Lucky for me, Mum was a good athlete in her own right. She told me stories about her youth in Mount Union, swimming in the Juniata River and playing softball, which she called mushball. Before the advent of Title IX made athletics more accessible to today's moms, she played basketball and was a member of the archery club decades before "The Hunger Games.''
In spite of her severe arthritis, she'd play catch with me, put up a basketball hoop and play one-on-one against me, even hold a pillow and help me learn to box. She'd watch the games with me, even having her own favorite players, like Arizona guard Steve Kerr. Mum and my aunt got me my first tennis racquet with Green Stamps.
Perhaps most importantly, though, they found a way to scrounge up enough money to get me subscriptions to The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated, so I could read the best sports writing in the country.
So give your mom a hug, not just today, but anytime. Tell her how much you love her and appreciate all she's done for you.
Thanks, Mum, for everything.
Cmor can be reached at 946-7440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.