It’s nice to be back in the Booth again after a week’s hiatus (more on that in a bit), and as we enter the 4th of July weekend, I wish all of you a great Holiday! Remember to let the pros handle the fireworks displays and to fly the American Flag proudly. Despite our differences and challenges, the USA is still the greatest country on Earth.
My travels recently have taken me back and forth to my hometown of Martinsburg WV quite a bit, and as I drove past the War Memorial Park on several occasions, I was taken back in time to our family 4th of July tradition. Every year during the endless Summers of my youth, we would go to the park for the 4th of July fireworks display. We would find a place on the grassy bank, spread a blanket, and impatiently wait for dusk, and that glorious show of color and sound.
Speaking of my youth, I write this week’s post with a heavy heart. I lost my mom last week due to a variety of health issues. It was a hard thing to watch someone that I thought would live forever deteriorate so rapidly. I think all of us like to think of our parents as they were when we were 12 years old (for me, circa 1972). So, in the “Booth” this week, that’s what I’m going to do.
I’ve written several times about my mom in relation to sports, and mine played a major role. She was always the one that took us to the local sporting goods store, Coaches Supply, for cleats, baseball gloves, mouth guards, the annual $9.99 Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star sneakers in school colors, even athletic supporters and the adjoining hard plastic “cups” (along with the explanation of their purpose).
My mom always made sure we (my brother and me) were the best looking players on the field, if not necessarily the most talented. While some teammate’s “unis” looked like unmade beds, ours were always clean and pressed. And we were always accesorized with the baseball undershirt with colored sleeves, new white tube socks, and wristbands. I think it was important to her, and a reflection of her, that we looked good out there.
More than once, she had to haul a cumbersome set of golf clubs to the office of Martinsburg High School, when I left them at home on match-day. I’m sure that wasn’t an easy task, but she always had our back.
And, my mom saved all things that related to our sports & school conquests. Last Friday I went to the house to gather some memorabilia from my mom’s cedar chest, and inside that mothball-smelling chamber I found things like my 1976 MHS baseball letter, a newspaper clipping of my first baseball game as a Bulldog, a 1971 clipping about that season’s Martinsburg Little League opening ceremonies, a program from the 1977 MHS Sports Banquet, not to mention every report card I ever brought home, even my graduation cap and gown. All good memories.
I think that my mom (as is the case with a lot of moms) lived vicariously through her children, and I hope that wherever she is now, she is at peace, and is proud of me.
Until next time, so long from the Booth!