Table of Contents
By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
Moms in Sports
Mother’s Day Sunday is upon arrival, and this week is much more than just the week to remember your 1-800-FLOWERS login information (still time BTW). It’s a time to cherish and give thanks to the mothers in our lives that have impacted us and made us who we are. No matter how you’re connected to a loving mother in your world, we all quickly saw from a young age the dedication that moms have, especially in the world of sports.
I look back on the countless soccer games, basketball practices, and golf tournaments my mom chauffeured me to, the endless hours on the sidelines waiting for me to get in and chuck up one three-pointer or just the calming shoulder to lean on after a tough loss. There is no doubt moms make the world go round, and in our sports world, there are moms that get all the love and some that are unheralded heroes.
Quite possibly the most nervous moms on a daily basis, these moms are watching their kids play a death-defying sport with serious injuries around every corner. It takes a special type of mama to weather the storm on and off the football field, and also bring that comforting nurturing vibe when the time is right. As a past resident in Patriots land, Diane Gronkowski has to be mentioned as an elite football mom, raising three football players Rob, Chris, and Dan – all three made it to the NFL. These days, the NFL mom on everyone’s brain is Donna Kelce – aka Momma Kelce. This past February she hit the spotlight as her NFL brothers Travis and Jason Kelce squared off against each other in Super Bowl LVII. Travis emerged victorious, but Donna and her split-team jersey created some of the more precious moments of that history-making moment.
With the close-knit nature of basketball arenas and audiences, hoop moms live in the public eye by nature. They’re right in front rows supporting their kids through every battle on the court and aren’t afraid to stand up for their kids in the media spotlight when the moment calls for it. Today’s basketball moms like Steph Curry’s mother Sonya and Lebron James’ mother Gloria are usually one of the first hugs after the post-game press conferences, and they’ve become fixtures not only on NBA sidelines but on gossip sites as well. Their support has gotten their sons to the pinnacle of the game without a doubt. Most notably, the momma in the NBA who has her own quote in the history books will be Wanda Pratt, aka “Mama Durant.” When her son Kevin won the 2013-2014 NBA MVP award, Wanda held back tears as Kevin proudly proclaimed to Wanda “You the real MVP.” That sentence has memed its way into pop culture, all thanks to the work of a wonderful mother in the game of basketball.
While the moms in baseball may not be as noteworthy in the public, it’s because they’re exhausted from every nine-inning game they’ve watched every pitch of. Dedication is the word that comes to mind for baseball moms, and they get rewarded in some of the more unique ways on the baseball field. While the other big sports aren’t guaranteed to be played on Mother’s Day, baseball on a Sunday in May is a virtual lock. Over the years, this has created lots of “tribute” stories of players dedicating moments to their moms, and the best one was last year in San Diego. Former Padres slugger Jorge Alfaro hit his first MLB homer with his mother in attendance on Mother’s Day last year, despite not being in the starting lineup after he guaranteed the homer as a gift. Sometimes life has a way of figuring itself out when a mom is by your side.
Puck moms are a special breed of tough. Undoubtedly the grittiest and grizzled type of mother you can find in sports, hockey moms have seen it all and they’ve also been part-time dentists as needed. Not easily rattled, hockey moms are to be appreciated and the greatest matriarch in hockey is Grace Sutter. If you can believe it, Grace gave birth to Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich, and Ron…and every one of them played in the NHL back in the day. From there, the Sutter boys had sons of their own that are scattered throughout the NHL and pro hockey leagues to this day. Grace was known for driveway practice sessions with the boys and an endless drive to keep them happy on the ice, and the Sutter name still lives on in the game today.
This piece is dedicated to Jill Button, a hockey mom of two and wife. Her legacy and the legacy of every other mother live on through their children each and every day.
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