Tremendous Strong Women Are All Around Us & Shape Our Lives in Enumerable Ways.
Let's celebrate Mother's Day!!
When Mother’s Day comes on this special day every year, I think first of my Mom. Mom is a very, very strong and determined person who overcame a terribly challenging childhood to be a tremendous influence on myself and my 3 sisters.
I think of Dad’s mom. A lady who worked the switchboard in a college in Montreal for over 40 years, and into her 80’s and also of was of very strong character and dealt with a lot to raise 3 children in a small flat in downtown Montreal in 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.
I think of my mother-in-law, someone who battled many health challenges and never lost her commitment to care and provide for her 4 children.
I think of my son’s mom, who transferred the strength of her mom to instilling the same in her son and who is a person of high character, strength and integrity.
I think of my 3 sisters who have all become tremendous mothers themselves, passing on the torch of care and instilling the life lessons that are building character and strength in their kids for the next generation.
Truth be told, I think of these ladies more than once a year. There are many more not mentioned here, all linked by strength of will, empathy and selflessness and work ethic. Without exaggeration, one or more of them pop into my head daily. I try to let them know regularly how much they are appreciated and feel privileged for having them in my life.
I also think of all the mothers’ I have met over the years who had kids in sports and all they did to support them through the activities. We had mom’s responsible not only for getting the kids to the practices and games, but also all the work at home to prep and prepare and the counselling after. Many of the were single mom’s, and seemingly supported more than 1 child without the partnership of a spouse. Truly incredible.
I think of a 2 stories from my time coaching that really illustrate the perspective.
Coaching my son’s soccer team. He was probably 9 or 10 years old, playing at the house league level. It is an age when kids have a huge discrepancy in skill but most are really keen to play.
They have just graduated from the chasing butterflies and running in packs style of soccer (both hilarious in their own right) and starting to developing a feel for the game. We would have many exciting games and for the most part, win or lose and judging by parent and kid feedback, everyone had a very positive experience .
During one game, a Dad from the opposite team got very upset with his son/daughter’s (was a mixed league) perceived lack of playing time. He was very vocal about it during the 2nd half and let everyone in the part know how upset he was. The opposing team’s coach was a mom.
She had a clipboard and a timer in her hand and from my view was doing a pretty good job of rotating the children. She had 5 or 6 extra kids to rotate in and seemed to be doing so regularly.
At the end of the game, this dad was so upset that he got in her face and it was quite disturbing. It got scary in a hurry. He was not a big man, but he was loud and intimidating. It was one of those things that took a few minutes to become aware of the situation but when we (parents and kids coming together at end of the game) did, the entire park went silent. I quickly went over to the situation and got in front of the dad and asked him to calm down but he was on a roll, and challenged me pretty quick. I realized that by escalating this was only going make it worse.
Belligerent and now swearing.
Fortunately, another mom came to the rescue and intervened with skill and firmness. She was a bigger lady, over 6ft tall and did not hesitate.
As it turns out, she was also an off-duty police officer and did not shy away from the instructions (not a request) for him to stand down or she was going to proceed with a disturbance of the peace charge and assault infraction. Her exact words were “this is your first and only warning to stop”. The man quickly backed down and walked away mumbling.
This incident has so many eye openers in it. It is still clear in my mind 11 years later. For one, how incredible was the coach? With a clipboard and timer, she was focused on making sure every player got their playing time. Her feedback was encouraging and the kids were smiling. 2nd she handled the “assault” after the game with dignity, but I know she was rattled (we all were). 3rd, how cool was the police officer mom? An incredible lady in her own right to step in and take on this bully with skill and precision.
At that age at that time (it is still a problem today), finding coaches is an issue. Parents step up with little or no experience because someone is needed to help. For this mom to step up and get all organized and focus on the experience is incredible. To be confronted by a dad who was obviously struggling with issues is unfortunately not as rare as we would like it.
Our boys need to know and appreciate the importance of mom in their life. In my son’s 14th year, the baseball coach made a point of having a ceremony on Mother’s Day to honor each of the mom’s. Each were presented with a signed baseball and flowers by their son’s in a gratitude ceremony. This highlights a very important takeaway for us as men. We and our sons need to make sure we show our love and support for the mom influence in our lives. As coaches, as male coaches, we need to make sure we show our support and appreciation for the mom’s in our organization and our sports. Our sons need to know that mom’s are most often the pillar of the family and should never be taken for granted.
There are obstacles that mothers’ face that many of us males can not begin to understand. With that in mind, respect, gratitude and appreciation through our actions becomes the very least we can do.
Mother’s Day is a celebration of women. When we think of the commitment it takes to not only go through the birthing process, how their body changes and how much of the responsibility of raising kids has fallen to mother’s, it truly warrants a regular celebration and dose of gratitude.
I came across 2 articles/stories worth noting on the powerful strength and impact mothers can have. 1 is from a coach’s perspective, the other is ….well, just remarkable.
These stories are all around us. When we see stories like this, they are worth sharing.
Women coaches have it harder than men for many reasons. The Physical Movement documented the challenges of women coaches in our January 3 edition feature here. Adia Barnes is the women’s basketball coach at the University of Arizona. A recent article highlighted the demanding aspects of balancing work and family in raising a young one. Barnes is a mom for a 6 month old who is breastfeeding while she is fulfilling her obligations as a coach at the Division 1 level.
“It’s a privilege for me. You can be great at all these things. You can be someone representing, and doing it with class, and professionalism, and doing well at your job. You can be a mom; you don’t have to stop coaching,” Barnes is quoted in the below article.
Coach Barnes has a great support team, not only in her players and her employer but also in her husband. This kind of story documents the demands of being a working mom, and honors them everywhere!
The full article is listed below. 1
Kwity Paye is now a professional football player from Liberia in West Africa. His recently got drafted into the NFL and while his story is very impressive, the true hero of the journey is his mother. She emigrated to the USA due to the civil war in her home country, as a single mom to 5 boys. She had no education while settling in a rough neighborhood of Rhode Island and worked 3 jobs to make sure they had what they needed. At 12 years old, one of her boys begged her to let him go to a private school so he can develop as a student and athlete with the promise that she would not have to pay for his college. With tuition being $10 000 per year, it was something she could not afford. She found a way. He went to the school, pursued his goals daily, got a scholarship to the University of Michigan and now has a life changing opportunity in the NFL. The passion, work ethic, commitment and sense of obligation to finish what was started was handed down from Mom to her sons.
Kwity’s first declaration a couple of weeks ago once drafted (which means instant financial independence) is that his mom is now “retired”! Reportedly they danced for hours upon being selected to the NFL.
The full story is documented below. 2
Happy Mother’s Day.
Let’s celebrate it with an important woman/mom in your life.
Let’s honor the strong women in our lives with gratitude on a regular basis.
To all the moms’: we are better for having you in our lives.
1 Mother and Coach Aida Barnes article
2 Mother and Son: one mother’s determination and work ethic opened the door to a better life to her son. Her son made the most of that opportunity.