I have the greatest sports mom !!! Baseball, Soccer, Track and Field, Basketball, Volleyball, Field Hockey, Softball and Football. Grammy Sullivan has seen it all. She's now 77 and showing no signs of slowing down. She remains the most loyal supporter of Sullivan family athletics. Her best moment as a sports mom came during the summer of 1968. Mom had taken me, my brother ( not a big baseball fan), and two of our friends to a Red Sox game. We had seats down the right field line about halfway up the grandstand. I know the Sox ended up winning the game, but I can't remember the score. I can tell you about a foul ball that I've been talking about for 43 years. I think it was the 6th inning. The Angels , Roger Repoz, lined a foul ball in our direction. Chaos followed !!! My mom, who is 5-3 and maybe 100 pounds on a good day , had a Manny Pacquaio moment. She made one quick , no look stab and it was over. She had the foul ball. I wish I could tell you that I still had the ball, but I think I lost it about a week later. It's a memory that will last a lifetime..
Some other great sports moms. How about Debbie Mallett ? For 3 months, ESPN draft experts like Todd McShay, Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock unloaded on Ryan Mallett. If everything they said was true, Ryan would have been run out of Fayetteville. How did Debbie respond to all the attacks on her son ? She threw her son a two day draft party and invited his old coaches, teachers, teammates and every Mallett in a 200 mile range. It was just what her son needed.
How about our NBA moms ? Annette Fisher, Bettye Williamson, Diane Johnson and Carolyn Brewer. All 4 players have a couple of things in common . Derek Fisher, Corliss Williamson, Joe Johnson and Ronnie Brewer all handle themselves in a classy way both on and off the court and they have been good to their hometowns. I know for a fact that Mrs. Williamson made Corliss promise that he would do something nice for Russellville after he signed his first big contract. That nice thing turned out to be a one million dollar donation for a new boys and girls club. Check out the Jack Stephens Center at UALR and you'll see a state of the art practice court. The Fisher court ( $600, 000 donation from Derek) and the Fisher fellows program are just two example of Derek's generosity to his alma mater. When the high school " Jammin' for Jackets" needed a financial boost , they went to Joe Johnson . Thanks to Joe, every athlete in Pulaski County who qualifies, will get a letter jacket for free. And every off-season up in Fayetteville, you can count on Ronnie Brewer holding at least one camp for kids. If you've met the 4 moms, you know the sons are just following mom's lead.
I could go on and on. Kristy Mann is a coaches wife. She is also the mom of two state champion wrestlers. Kristy is more than a good fan. She has become the first lady of wrestling in the state. Peggy McCall is the woman behind the Miracle League . She is like the second mom to hundreds of special athletes.
Today I salute all the sports moms ( including my wife). From tee-ball to the Major League. Thanks for everything you do !!!