Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com


Stories about how Moms have influenced careers, made great athletes what they are, and pushed through adversity are plentiful. That’s the story about my Mom too. We didn’t grow up poor, but we weren’t close to rich either. (I never heard any discussions about money when I was a kid, but I did think liver was steak until I was 18.)

My Mother is the toughest, kindest person I know, all at the same time. The oldest of four children, her Father died when she was 17. The charge of helping out with her sister and brothers fell to her. She’s raised four children, prodded and cajoled and put all of us through college, saved three people from drowning once at a North Carolina beach while on vacation, stayed married to my Father for 49 years, and beat cancer. All while working with Special Ed kids, helping out charities and being the best cook on earth.

Pretty good huh?

Of course, she’s my Mom, so I think she’s perfect. Well, most of the time I think she’s perfect.

Who else in your life knows most of your secrets, even if you haven’t told them? Who else lets you make mistakes hoping you’ll learn from them, and praying you won’t get hurt while it happens? Who else made things easy for you, and you didn’t even know it. You just thought you were brilliant.

And your Mom let you feel that way. Because she’s your Mom.

My Mom has the most famous Mom-isms of all time. Ones you’ve heard. “We’re not air conditioning the entire neighborhood,” she’s said to me a million times as she closed the door behind me.

“Go outside and play. Don’t come back ’till it’s dark,” I heard daily after I finished my paper route.

“No bouncing the ball in the house. Do it in the basement if you can’t go outside,” was a regular staple during basketball season.

My favorite of all time though is, “when you have children of your own, I hope they jump on your couch, a lot.” I usually heard that one while practicing some trampoline routine in the living room.

Most of the Mom-isms came from the kitchen while I was somewhere else in the house. How did she know what I was doing? Eyes in the back of her head? Probably. (although when I was nine I looked and didn’t find any.)

My Mom, like a lot of moms, spent a good part of her time finding my various uniforms and driving me around. Some sports practice, a band practice, a speech competition, and even my first date to the Jr. High dance.

“Buckle up,” was a common refrain well before seat belts were even part of our collective consciousness.

When I was in High School, my Mom never discouraged me from anything I wanted to do. In college, she told me to finish. When I did she said “eventually you’ll end this Bohemian lifestyle (I was a bartender) and get on with your life.” (Bohemian? Who uses Bohemian in a sentence not including the words “Queen” or “Rhapsody?”)

I drove a school bus for a while at my Mom’s suggestion while trying to get into broadcasting. “Stay active, something good will happen,” was her sage advice, “and don’t mope, count your blessings!”

I’ve looked to her for inspiration during my career, drawing it from some of our most general conversations. “You’re most creative when nothing’s going on,” she told me one night when I had no idea what I’d put in the 11 o’clock news.

She’s kept me close to my faith, reminding me it’s a foundation for life. She’s kept an oral history of our family going, explaining who my Aunt Annie Brannan was and what kind of job my Uncle Will had (he was a carnival barker. Really).

I tell groups I speak to that all of the good things about me, I got from my Mom, the rest I acquired myself. That usually gets a laugh, but I know it’s the truth.

I’ve always thought my mother has beauty that rivals anybody. Not just anybody’s mom, but anybody.

I’ve never had any problem telling my Mom I love her. It’s always been easy. But on this Mother’s Day I wanted to say something I haven’t said enough.