Sports moms are the real heroes

This Sunday marks one of the most important days of the year on the sporting calendar.
No, it isn’t a possible Game 5 in the Oilers-Sharks series. It isn’t one of several NBA conference semi-final playoff games being played that day.
Rather, the important sporting event taking place this Sunday is Mother’s Day.
Now I’m willing to wager there are more than a few people who think Mother’s Day and sports are two mutually-exclusive events. Those people are terribly short-sighted and more than a little wrong.
Think about it. Who is the first person that every professional athlete thanks the minute he or she finds themselves in front of a TV camera? Mom.
During major sporting events in which the parents of an athlete are sitting in the crowd, which parent is it the interviewer immediately clamours to speak with? Mom.
Moms have been a part of some of the most emotional (and therefore memorable) moments ever seen in sport. Whether they are offering support to their child in tough times, encouraging their child to strive for greatness, or protecting their child from harm, moms have been central figures in many great sports stories.
Who could forget the Olympic Games of Athens and all the hype surrounding Perdita Felicien? For weeks, the media billed the Canadian hurdler as a sure bet to win gold. It got to the point where I thought Canadian track officials were just going to forgo the race and declare Felicien the winner.
In fact, the media was so confident Felicien would win that one of the major networks put a TV crew in her parents’ home and went live to air just before the race.
The idea was to share the Felicien family’s moment of triumph with all of Canada.
Sadly, Felicien crashed on the first hurdle. However, the networks were spared a total disaster when they managed to videotape the hurdler and her mother, Kathy, talking on the phone following the disastrous race.
My most memorable moment of the entire Felicien saga was watching Kathy console her daughter, telling her the family was extremely proud of her and that they loved her very much despite the fact she didn’t win.
More recently there was the story of Dakoda Dowd, the top-ranked 13-year-old golfer in the States, and her mom, Kelly Jo. What makes her story truly compelling, aside from her young age, is her relationship with her mom.
Kelly Jo Dowd was diagnosed with terminal cancer just over a year ago. Her one wish before she passed away was to see her daughter, Dakoda, play in an LPGA event.
Kelly Jo’s wish came true earlier this year when tournament organizers at the Ginn Open granted Dakoda special entry into the event.
Dakoda played her heart out for two rounds of golf while her mom cheered her on from the gallery.
I’ve no doubt in my mind that LPGA fans will be seeing a lot more of Dakoda Dowd in a few years. And when she does make the tour full time, I’m sure she will thank her mom for giving her the courage and determination to chase her dreams.
My favourite sports story involving a mom takes place in the boxing ring. English boxer Tony Wilson was in a professional fight against opponent Steve McCarthy in Southampton, England in September, 1989.
In the third round, McCarthy caught Wilson with a stiff punch, knocking him to the canvas. Wilson beat the count and got back up, but he was clearly out on his feet.
McCarthy then began landing some big punches on Wilson, who was pinned up against the ropes and in a great deal of trouble. That is, until Milna Wilson came to the rescue.
From out of the crowd, Tony’s mom charged the ring wielding one of her high-heeled shoes. Milna landed several blows of her own on McCarthy until a security guard separated her from her son’s opponent.
Once Milna was removed from the ring, the referee called for the fighters to resume the contest. More than a little upset about being attacked with a shoe, McCarthy refused to fight and was disqualified—giving the match to Wilson.
Regardless of whether you’re a professional or amateur athlete, everyone has a great mom sports story. So this Sunday, be sure to thank the mother in your life for all her love and support over the years.
Some of the best sports moments of all time wouldn’t have been possible without her.

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