Slap Hitter: Here’s to the Sports Moms

When I was just a little bunt hitter sports moms were the ladies who served chips and chili at Little League games. They drove the kids to the practices, then sat patiently in the sun or the cold showing more stamina than the kids playing in the games.

I was luckier than most. I have a sports mom who loves sports.

Not every sport (but then neither do I). Not the gossip and silliness that makes up modern sports coverage (neither do I), nor endless reruns of Sports Center just to see the home team’s highlights (uh…sorry Mom).

Sports moms are more varied than when my mom was getting started. Some like Lisa Leslie play professional sports and are raising children as well. Some coach young women and slowly but surely more will start coaching young men. One ran for Vice President of the United States, and then there are the legions loading up equipment, snacks and team banners in mini-vans, station wagons and cars far too small for so much stuff (oh and the kids!).

My mom grew up at a time when girls didn’t do sports, but with a sports mad dad, that wasn’t going to be an option. My mother became a knothole kid. Sitting in the bleachers with kids following the old Pacific Coast League, mom became a fan. And when I became old enough to turn on the TV I always had company when the ballgame was on. And it’s still true today. I grew up reading, so I could decipher the sports page, I started to write so I could share my ideas about the games people play.

And I know there must be rooms full of boys and girls in rooms adorned with posters purchased by sports moms who go to sleep dreaming big league dreams. The same moms who put a pack of baseball cards in a child’s backpack on his way to summer camp.

Across the country at ballparks across the nation today, baseball teams celebrate Mother’s Day with pink bats, profiles on Jumbo trons and cute ceremonies. But yesterday at a small Little League park, my Mom sat on yet another set of bleachers along with dozens of other sports moms watching another generation of slap hitters. And those of us on the field or in the press box know as well as we know the infield fly rule that that was Mother’s Day too. So enjoy the day Moms, either with a ballgame on TV or a day off from the games you’ve been exposed to for years. With Love into extra innings from all of your children.— Kibby Kleiman

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