Published 12:00 am Monday, May 11, 1998

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / May 11, 1998

It could be honestly said that behind almost every great athlete, there is a great mother.

Who else would be there to mend their wounds when they got hurt as a youngster? To wash their uniforms or take them to practices and games? Who sat in the stands no matter what the weather or score? To congratulate them in victory and comfort them after a loss? Or to offer them words of support when obstacles loomed in their way? Think about it, when a television camera focuses on an athlete on the sidelines or in the dugout, what does he or she usually say? It’s not hello to their agent. It’s “Hi, mom.” They know where the real support comesfrom.

Watching any feature on an athlete, you always hear about a mom who made sacrifices in order for their child to realize their dreams.

Conversely, every year you hear about a player who was just drafted say they are going to buy a house for their mom, knowing that there is truly no way they could repay her for all the support she has given them.

There are tales throughout history about the lengths mothers went for their children. In ancient times, women were forbidden to attend sportingevents. There is the legend of the woman who dressed as a man, risking beputting to death, just so she could watch her son perform.

A few years ago, a mother jumped into a boxing ring to attack the fighter who was defeating her son. Casey Candale probably got the ability to makethe major leagues from his mom, who was a star in the professional girls baseball league in the 1940s and 50s. The stories go on and on.At the state softball tournament this past weekend, tens of thousands of fans made their way to the Alexandria Youth Softball Complex. And whowere among the loudest supporters of each team? You guessed it, the mothers of the players. For them, driving hundreds of miles was a smallsacrifice to make to see their children become champions. They thoughtnothing of it and wouldn’t have missed seeing them for the world.

But for the athletes, it was a big deal. Looking up in the stands, justseeing someone they know would love them no matter what, had to give them a boost. Those moms would probably tell you they would be proud oftheir children win or lose. I am quite sure the athletes would say they arejust as proud of their moms.

I know when I played little league baseball, I tried even harder when I saw my mom in the stands. She was there to comfort me when I was cut frommy middle school team. And even today, she supports me in my golfadventures.

This Mother’s Day, take time to give your mom a hug or call her on the telephone. They may never be awarded a ring or trophy, but they are indeedchampions.

Thanks, mom, and happy Mother’s Day.

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