When I meet new people and tell them what I do for a living, most times I am asked this question within the first few minutes: “Have you always been into sports?” It’s usually women who ask the question, and most often it is women who are not big sports fans themselves. I think they find it unusual that a girl (me) who seems so much like them has a passion for something totally off their radar. When I reply that yes, I have always been into sports, both as an athlete and as a fan, I’m usually hit with this follow-up: So, your dad was a big sports fan?
That’s when I tell them about my mom. Joy is who taught me to hook slide, the importance of throwing 100 pitches every day (even though I was a catcher and a shortstop) and to love the PIttsburgh Steelers (except for when they hold on to the wrong player for too long!–a la Kordell Stewart–or drop a good one too soon!–a la Antwaan Randle el–or stick to the run even when it’s not working!–a la most of the post-Super Bowl season). My dad played high school football, and from what I’ve heard, was darn good. He taught me the fundamentals of football (and just about every sport under the sun). But it was my mom who inadvertently taught me to love the game of football, and to have a passion for sports. Because of her, I never knew that wasn’t a “girlie” thing to do.
MOM AND ME, EAGLES-JETS, 2007 …
This past week, my mom flew out to Los Angeles to help me finish up a cross-country move (10 weeks after starting it) and a few of my west coast friends finally had the opportunity to, as they put it, “See where she gets it from.” Besides moving furniture, hanging shelving, unpacking boxes, shopping for a new car, a new refrigerator, new rugs … my mom and I watched a lot of (really fun) football. And there is no more animated football fan than my mother (There was also no more animated–or better/tougher/bullish–Little League softball coach in Southwest Florida). Sometimes I wish NFL and college coaches (or more specifically, whomever is coaching the Steelers or the Gators) could hear the criticism she’s throwing their way, because most of the time, she is spot on. Sometimes I believe the analysts can hear her, because they often echo her sentiments, word for word.
Monday night, we walked to Barney’s Beanery on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica to watch the Steelers-Jags game. We settled into a great booth, ordered a couple of beers and a plate of nachos and I entertained myself watching people, mainly young guys, watch my mom watch football. Woman knows her stuff. Thankfully, the Steelers pulled off another close one. It was a good night. And now that I’m on the west coast, it was only 9 p.m.