On this Mother’s Day, we pause to honor some of the great mothers in sports. Now, please don’t be offended when your mom isn’t included. We know she’s wonderful. And to be clear, we aren’t ranking the best moms in sports, because that would be impossible and if you thought the MJ vs. Lebron debate got people fired up, wait till someone perceives that you have disrespected their mother. Without further ado, here’s our tribute to some of our favorite moms in sports.
The surprising star of The Last Dance documentary has been Mrs. Jordan – Michael’s mom. Between currently looking considerably younger than Michael and having revealed that she was the one who convinced him to meet with Nike, she has stolen the show. On many levels, being the mother of the most influential athlete turned businessman of all time has some perks. However, can you imagine what it’s like to be a parent of Michael Jordan, and then also his brothers? “No, Larry, you’re doing great – just because Michael gave me a mansion, 14 cars and a yacht, I really love you just as much as I do him.” Not to mention that she suffered through the murder of her husband 27 years ago. This woman is a national treasure and we’re glad she’s getting the recognition she deserves.
KJ Hamler’s Mom – Motivational Trainer
KJ Hamler was drafted this spring by the Denver Broncos after following in the rather large footsteps of Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders at Penn State. Hamler is an exciting, speedy receiver with a bright future in the NFL, but like many athletes, is having to great creative during this pandemic with his workouts. Fortunately, mom is there to save the day, as usual.
Ok, this is technically a supportive wife, and I have no idea if she’s a mom, but Gregg Marshall’s wife getting escorted out of an arena by cops because she was drunk and yelling at Kentucky players during an entire NCAA tournament game is one of my favorite stories from NCAA tournaments past.
The mom who brought us Campbell’s Chunky soup also apparently is a marketing genius. According to this story, after watching her son film a commercial with an actress pretending to be his mom, she lobbied to have real moms instead of actresses. And she won. And she was right. Kudos to you and pass the soup!
The greatest women’s tennis player of all time locked up that title with her 23rd Grand Slam Championship at the 2017 Australian Open. As a side note, she was pregnant at the time. Following the birth of her
son daughter* she has returned and played great tennis, reaching four grand slam finals. More importantly, she helped shine a light on the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth, both physically and emotionally.
*We received a call from Serena’s publicist, who berated us like a line judge who just called Serena for a foot fault. Apparently, Alexis Ohanian Jr. is a girl. Our sincere apologies.
While Serena was at the top of the tennis world, gave birth and returned, Ochoa chose a different path. She was the #1 golfer in the world and retired to start a family. Whichever path one chooses is the right one for that person, and their family, and that’s what matters. But these aren’t decisions that you hear men having to make. We know there are men out there who leave jobs to stay home with their kids while the mom returns to work, and that’s awesome. But we don’t know any men who were the best athlete in their sport in the world making that decision.
While being the spouse of someone who writes a blog about sports that no one reads may not exactly qualify her as being in the world of sports, it’s our blog so we’re going to brag on her. However, our 3-month-old son is showing clear signs on athletic greatness, so it’s only a matter of time until she’s on a documentary about his career. When we first met, our very first date, we were discussing our jobs and I mentioned what I did for a living. Her face dropped and she asked me, “Is it ok if I’m not a Michigan fan?” My response was, “well, are you a sports fan?” The unequivocal yes was my first indication that I should probably marry this woman.
That dinner was on a Thursday in early March. After dinner, I asked for a second date, on Sunday night. A little confused, she agreed, but asked about Saturday instead of Sunday. You know, like a normal person. “Well, UNC plays Duke that night, so I’m going to be watching that and frankly, I’d rather you not see me in that setting.” This was the make or break moment. Thankfully, she didn’t think I was too much of psycho and agreed to dinner on Sunday.
Being the mother of two sons, our mom was destined to spend her days toting us around to practices and games and dealing with the aftermath of that…whether it be teeth busted out in a driveway soccer game, the stench of middle school boys after soccer practice or luxurious weekends in Super 8s and Days Inns in idyllic locales like Beckley, West Virginia and Kirkwood Delaware. There were many great moments of success and just as many of failure, and our mom was there through them all. Here are two of our favorites though.
In the summer, we would have family doubles tennis matches. Mom was a great tennis player, Dad was a great athlete who occasionally picked up a tennis racquet, brother was a big guy who could swing hard and I was perhaps a little too competitive. These matches were always fun, unless my team lost, in which case they were terrible. One of those times, dad and I were playing brother and mom and I was at the net. A lob from our side went awry, setting my mom up for a perfect overhead. Presumably, she could hit it anywhere she wanted, and the point was over. So, where did she hit it? She pounded the overhead directly at my cowering body at the net. Ruthless. And I’m the competitive one?!?
As we got older, we played a lot of soccer and ordinarily my parents were pretty mild-mannered on the sidelines. There were some more vocal, Jack Daniels fueled parents (and coaches) who managed to keep the refs updated on the state of their officiating. But, every now and then, this sweet, Southern voice emerged from the crowd. Once, in particular, we were involved in a little dust up, which admittedly we started and then attempted to get blamed on our opponent. We didn’t trick the official, but we did trick our mother who proceeded to berate the official for about a minute while no one else said a word. At least until my teammates told me to ask my mom to be quiet.
Moms are the best. And no, my mom doesn’t know this website exists, and if she did, she would likely be mortified. Yet another reason why we don’t deserve these great women!
Happy Mother’s Day!