Latest Issue

Mom’s Day

Thankfully, one of the celebrations enjoyed by Americans that has not been postponed or canceled by the ongoing pandemic — Mother’s Day — will be celebrated this Sunday. While the observance commemorating the one individual, all of us have in common, may be a bit different than in recent years, it nevertheless will take place.

A salute to all Mothers be they grand or brand new
May’s second Sunday is all about you
No matter what else may be going on this day
Love from your children should be coming your way!

History reveals that celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Early Christianity marked the occasion by establishing Mothering Sunday observances. In the United States, Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 as a means of honoring her mother, who died in 1905. President Woodrow Wilson officially established the day in 1914.

Today, Mother’s Day has become a commercial boom. There are more telephone calls made on this day (112 million) than on any other day of the year. Additionally, there are 152 million cards sent, and it is the busiest day of the year for restaurants. The advent of commercialism taking over the day so angered Jarvis that she spent the later years of her life engaged in efforts to remove the day from the calendar.

There will always be unique ways to remember and thank Mothers. Although, sports have nothing to do with the observance of the day; perhaps one of the very special ways to salute Mom was orchestrated by Montoursville native Tom O’Malley when he was called up to the Major Leagues by the San Francisco Giants on Mother’s Day weekend in May of 1982. O’Malley’s debut came at Shea Stadium against the Mets, and with his parents, Tom and Lois, in attendance, he hit his first MLB home run on Mother’s Day.

Many moms are sports lovers also, but on this day, husbands and children won’t be rushing the observance to dash to the TV to see how their favorite teams are making out. In a flashback from my years of managing teams in South Williamsport’s Little Mountaineer Little League, I can vividly recall that Mother’s Day was the one day of the season where no Little League games could be played. It was OK to play on Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and July 4th but not on that day set aside to honor Mom.

Those Little League days bring up the memories shared with so many but perhaps no more than with a handful of ladies that were of tremendous help to me who labored under the loving volunteer title of ‘Team Mom.’ These ladies were godsends as they scheduled and took care of all those off-the-field activities that are a big part of the Little League experience. Fundraising, concession stand workers, picture day, uniform distribution, etc. were among the diversified necessities taken care of by these wonderful women.

Sometimes the turnover rate of team moms can be high, but in my 22-year managerial career, I was fortunate to have had a ‘fab five’ to whom I send out a very special greeting this Mother’s Day. Included are Carol Kagenski (4 years), Joan Helmrich (6 years), Pam Miller (5 years), Tammy Cimini (2 years), and Deb Shellman (5 years). Those years with you and your children were most memorable, and the tireless efforts you gave to our teams have not been forgotten.

Although my late mother, Annmary, was not personally athletic, she was an enthusiastic baseball fan and enjoyed golf. I recall her stories of visiting Arnold Palmer’s golf heaven in Latrobe. We enjoyed many baseball outings together at Bowman Field and occasional trips to MLB games. She would always tune in to watch the Masters Golf Tournament, and when things got exciting, she would call me to see if I was watching.

Professionally, Mom was an interior decorator who seldom went anywhere, not nattily attired. I never once saw her in tennis shoes. In her later years after she experienced a few falls, I bought her a pair of sneakers and proudly gifted them to her on Mother’s Day, explaining that she would be more comfortable and safe wearing them. After Mom’s passing a few years later while cleaning out her home, I found those same sneakers in a box in her closet — never worn.

The mother of our own children (Denise and Doug) has been a wonderful sports wife for 56 years. I’m not quite sure she knew the level of sports involvement she was getting into, but Jean has been a supportive life companion. She has actively been involved with the many sporting ventures the kids and I have undertaken. Since 1987, when I began coaching basketball at South Williamsport, she has been at the scorer’s table pencil in hand. She has been by my side as I completed an early ‘bucket list’ of attending MLB games at each of the 30 stadiums around the country. She has patiently (most of the time) scheduled meals and outings around some type of sporting event that held my interest.

She was my sidekick and co-founder of a fledgling business hobby (Sports Score Service) we ran for several years. And in 1976, she was among a handful of women who organized the first Little League Softball program in South Williamsport.

As each of you takes the time to thank your Mom on this special day, may the many memories you’ve shared together be always with you. One more thing — forget the social distancing — give Mom a great big hug.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *