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while there is an endless list of stamps my mother has impressed upon me, one of the more overt examples deals in my support of children, particularly in sport. my mom came to most of my high school football games. it should be noted that i stopped playing football in the ninth grade. this put me in the stands sitting near whatever girl i was secretly obsessing over that semester. then after a play you'd hear some mild applause and general hoots and then from some part of the stands you'd hear a coach-like voice bark something like "NICE HIT DAVIN! THAT'S THE WAY TO STICK EM'" or "COME ON YOU GUYS. BLOCK YOUR MAN!" inevitably near me, i'd hear someone look in that direction and say

who's that woman yelling?

that's dearmitt's mom

i didn't know troy was even on the team.

he's not.

then why's she yelling all the time?

i don't know. i guess she really likes football.

while my mom did love a good football game, she was even more supportive of the people who played the game. fact is, she encouraged everyone to do everything to the best of their ability and felt that people should be recognized and complimented for those efforts. silent and uninvolved fans, particularly parents, confounded her. i know because she'd often wonder aloud why more people didn't cheer on their kids and friends. even after i was out of high school and my parents lived in various parts of the country, they'd still occasionally take in a local football game and still my mother would be the most audible voice in the stands, even without knowing a solitary player.

the consistency of her practice has melded into me for when we go to soccer games i, like my mother when i was young, was astonished how parents wouldn't (a) cheer their kids on with a vigor equal to their effort or (b) even pay attention to the game if they bothered to come. it's not something she taught me but it is something she showed me which i think most agree is the more powerful teaching method. thus, i'm the yelling guy. fact is i yell and watch the game so well, i could charge the other parents for my work. first their kids would be guaranteed to hear their name from the stands and second i could tell them, the parent, what they missed (so your kid scored a left-footed goal against a select goalie to tie the game and then made a beautiful pass through three defenders that led to the tie-breaking goal). i think these observations would be even more valuable than the notes i sold in college (those were also an object of beauty).

a few weekends back while coaching bella's softball team, i applauded a defensive play made by the other team's second basemen getting our player out. it was a well executed play made by an uncertain sixth grade girl and afterward, not a soul on her sidelines made a peep. so after about ten seconds and once the players settled back in for the next play, i clapped my hands and yelled "great dee on second blue." the girl looked over at me partially confused. i clapped my hands and said again "great play". one of the fathers of a player on my team looked at me like i'd lost my mind. fortunately another thing my mom taught me was to not give a shit when narrow-minded folks took issue with my values. way to go girl i don't know on second base. and way to go mom.




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