As most of you know, this Sunday is Mother’s Day. And while my Mother’s Day column could have gone on our opinion page, I kept thinking about how both my mom and grandma influenced my fandom.
When I first moved to Oklahoma in the summer of 1992, I did a lot of hanging out at my Grandma Jane’s house in Del City.
And since it was summer, that meant baseball. As far as I can remember, Grandma Jane wasn’t so much of a Cubs fan as she was a Harry Caray fan since WGN was on every day.
However, when there were no games on WGN, we watched the Atlanta Braves on TBS.
I recall once being told by my mom, Linda, that her mom, Jane, also like the Mets, my dad’s team that has passed to me.
When I look back on the summer of 1992, I have nothing but good memories. Maybe it’s cause I was seven years old, but more likely it’s because they were good times.
For whatever reason, I have always looked at sports through a macho, masculine lens. And never being the fastest or strongest guy on the field, even at recess, probably added to whatever complex I’m describing.
Yet, in this time before Mother’s Day, I wonder if when I saw star athletes on TV I was looking in the wrong place for an example of strength. I’m not saying these people didn’t put in long hours of hard work and practice.
Rather, as I review memories of both my grandma and mom, I recall a sense of strength and self-determination from both of them.
For my grandma, I was the only of three grandkids she saw with her own eyes as she became legally blind not long after I was born. I saw her use a magnifying glass to read, but other than that, she never seemed to be disabled.
Grandma always knew what was going on with the games; both in that first summer of 1992 and subsequent ones. She died in 2004 when I was in college.
I learned from her that you didn’t need to see the game to know what was going on.
Of course, it helped to have Harry Caray narrate the action in his own way. Those fans of the game who are younger than me missed out on Harry.
Meanwhile, my mom has always been a pillar of strength. She may not see it that way, but she also encouraged me.
This included my shortlived baseball career through the second and third grades. I’m not saying I was a bad athlete, but to quote John Mulaney, “my brain knew how sports worked, but my body didn’t.”
My mom enjoyed watching sports with us, but didn’t have the NBA bug, if you will, until the Oklahoma City Thunder came to town in 2008.
At first, I wasn’t sure how to react as I’ve been a lifelong fan of the Utah Jazz and watched countless playoff games with my dad from the early 90’s on.
Her friend, Tracy, got season tickets, pretty early on, and my mom was in hook, line and sinker.
This included more than a few texts about stats and the like.
I’ve lost count of how many times she has asked if I saw a particular thing from last night’s game.
At the end of the day, it’s cool that there are sports fans all around even ones we call mom and grandma.
For those still here cheering us and our teams, Happy Mother’s Day! And for those who are no longer with us, please know we miss you and the way you cheered.