It's certainly appropriate to frame the day we honor mothers with athletics. Where would most sports be without the sports moms?
Mom often is the one who trucks the players to the games, from toddler-league soccer to Little League baseball and beyond. Mom is there in the stands watching, or she might be the one who's selling hot dogs to keep the team afloat. Mom is there to dab scraped knees and tear-filled eyes, and offer us words of encouragement or consolation.
Even those moms who fluster umpires and referees are simply doing their best to support the athlete they love (but remember mom, those officials are someone's son or daughter, too!).
My mom has certainly done nothing to stop me from being around sports - she signed all the permission slips, paid all the entry fees, got the physicals taken care of, etc., and did it in a day when a single mother like her already was overtaxed and overburdened, especially with a handful like me.
But despite being around sports - or at least, sports people - my mom has never been all that interested.
Think about this: She was married to a man who was a sports broadcaster for a large and successful high school football and wrestling program, and an NCAA Division I wrestling team. He also was the stadium announcer for the college football squad, one you might have heard of - they play over the mountain from here, wearing blue and white.
Her daughter is a rock-solid Nittany Lions football fan, as we learned while standing at a tailgate in the rain for her last fall. Her son, who always showed a knack for describing the sports but never was quite so good at playing them, ended up in a profession not unlike his father.
And I'm not sure she's ever been to a football game or a wrestling match, much less any other sport.
So if you said to me a year ago that my mother would spend this spring following the day-to-day playoff activities of the American Hockey League, that she would know players by name and actually care what they were doing, I'd have said you were crazy.
But it seems I'm the one who needs measured for the long sleeves now.
I blame it on a 4-year-old boy.
My son kept asking his Nana why she didn't come with us to hockey games. The kid just couldn't grasp it in his little mind when she said she didn't like hockey, and didn't want to come. Eventually, she told him she couldn't see the game because of cataracts - which was true.
But then she scheduled the surgery - or as he put it, "My Nana's going to the hobbital to get her eyes fixed so she can see hockey" - and she played along and went to a game once the work was done. She was a good sport, and went to a few more, mostly when it was convenient in conjunction with another family activity.
During our last vacation, Mom and I spent a day spotting lighthouses on the Maine coast, enjoyed a seafood dinner and then a hockey game in Portland. She also saw one in Manchester, N.H., on that trip, and another with a boatload of family in Norfolk, Va., in January.
It was at a game in Hershey this spring that our friend Carol - a good hockey mom herself, who sits behind us at home games - noticed that my mom was really getting into it.
How into it? Well, let's just say that, a couple weeks ago, I spent a bit of time diagramming out the rink and explaining the blue line rules, so she would better understand what constitutes icing, and when a player is offside.
Through the course of this season, she got her own jersey - autographed by her favorite player - and expressed an interest in coming more often. I was negotiating with a friend who sits beside us, trying to make a deal for a number of games on the seat adjacent to ours. She heard about it, but imagine my surprise when she asked me one morning the difference between a partial- and full-season plan.
Guess what Mom? You don't need to worry. Happy Mother's Day - you're a Hershey Bears season ticket holder. We'll see you for the full 40 next year.
Jeff Fishbein, who like all good boys loves his mother, is sports editor of The Sentinel. Contact him at email@example.com.