If the world was a perfect place, you would be in every hall of fame. But I know even that wouldn’t be enough.
Despite all the coaches, trainers, and teammates we’ve had, you have always been my biggest supporter.
You may have never had the opportunity to wear a medal, hoist a trophy, or even get your name announced over the loudspeaker, but I always knew that you deserved every ounce of recognition that was given to me.
You never openly told me, but I now know how hard it was to pay for my athletic career.
I never went without. I was always able to do whatever my heart desired, and you made it work. And I know it would be impossible to try to measure the amount of time you spent driving me to and from practice, tournaments, and private lessons.
Looking back on it now, I should have said thank you 100 times a day. The thousands of dollars of equipment you selflessly bought for me is now packed away in various boxes and collecting dust in the garage; most of it broken due to both overuse and underuse. I was too blinded by my own childhood dreams of playing forever that I never realized that you would be there for me long after the game ended.
Mom, you were always there for me even when I didn’t play. You would tell me “You did so well!” Even when the most action I got was drinking the two Gatorades you got me before the game. You didn’t care because you were going to support me no matter what I did.
Sports have taught me a lot about how to deal with adversity and how to push myself beyond my previous limits. But you, Mom, told me I could overcome anything. No matter how frustrated I was with the slumps, the disappointments, and outright failures, you told me to keep going when I wanted to quit. The encouragement you gave wasn’t empty or merely words to make me feel better. You always told me “You are stronger than you think. You can do this.” Those words have meant more to me than you will ever know.
You have loved me in so many ways.
You told me I could when no one else believed; not even myself. You were always there to offer me a hand whenever I didn’t want to get up from whatever just knocked me down. You pulled me from dark places when I was injured and couldn’t play. Your support was bigger than sports.
I thought you were preparing me to have a good next game, but I realized that you were preparing me for the next chapter of my life.
Sports didn’t make me a better person, you did.
I love you, Mom.
Happy Mother’s Day!