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Mothers Know Best
Steve Rushin
May 09, 2005
Christine Baker, whose son Dusty manages the Chicago Cubs, once gently chided me for the sins of all sportswriters. "In all these stories," she said, "the fathers get the credit for their children's success, as if the mothers had nothing to do with it." And I thought: Jack Elway, Earl Woods, Press Maravich, Richard Williams, Cal Ripken Sr.... she's right.
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May 09, 2005

Mothers Know Best

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Moms support the NAR: The National Association of Realtors would collapse without all those houses jocks buy for their mothers. And moms support the NRA: When the Vice Lords came knocking at her Chicago door, Mary Thomas, Isiah's mom, greeted them with a sawed-off shotgun. "Get off my porch," she said, "or I'll blow you across the Expressway."

Jermaine O'Neal's mom, Angela, worked two jobs as a single parent while raising the future NBA prodigy, proving that you needn't go to college to have an alma mater, Latin for "nourishing mother."

Moms can sense trouble like roosters sense earthquakes. Former Twins slugger Kent Hrbek once explained the end of a slump by saying, "My mom told me to get my stinking elbows up higher, and Mom's always right."

And moms can sense impending triumph, which is why in 1986, after a 27-year absence, Helen Nicklaus abruptly decided to attend only her second Masters, which, against all reason, was won by her 46-year-old son. After his mom died at age 90, Jack Nicklaus said, "Mothers are always there for you."

And just last month a 12-year-old recovering cancer patient realized his dream of circling the bases at Safeco Field in Seattle, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A Tacoma News Tribune reporter asked Christopher Theus if he'd been given any words of wisdom before touching 'em all, and his answer may be the best motherly advice ever given, as true in life as it is on the base paths. He said, "My mom told me to run slow and wave." ?

? If you have a comment for Steve Rushin, send it to rushin@siletters.com.

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