Here's a Mother's Day tribute to somebody I've known pretty well
In the spirit of Mother's Day, I'm going to tell you about the greatest such person of all-time.
Yeah, I'm biased, but it's true.
I could mention Annie Moore's splendid cooking, especially when it comes to anything. I could mention she sewed so well from birth through my teenage years that she made stylish clothes for my two brothers and me. I could mention she is a whiz at crossword puzzles along with computer games. I could mention she is a perfect contestant for anything along the lines of "Name That Tune." I could mention she is highly perceptive, rarely (OK, never) wrong and can find a speck of sunlight in a hemisphere of darkness.
All of that said, I'll use the rest of this space telling you why she ranks 1a or 1b as the primary reason I've been a professional sports journalist for the last four decades.
Let's start with this: When my two brothers and I grew up in South Bend, Ind., home of the University of Notre Dame, she used to make sure we were in front of somebody's television set long before the opening kickoff. Not only that, but she would dress us in a certain type of sweatshirt for the Fighting Irish. "These are the same ones that Ara wears on the sidelines," she told us, referring to Notre Dame coaching icon Ara Parseghian.
During those days, she was the secretary of the same Little League that my dad spent three years as our first baseball coach. She was such a wonderful bowler while operating solo or in tandem with my dad that she has enough trophies to fill a walk-in closet. Plus, after a few tips from my dad, who was among those to break the color barrier for golfers in the state of Indiana, she has trophies from her time on the links.
Mom's sporting life started years ago. Between playing the trombone for her South Bend High School marching band (she still sings every word of its fight song with enthusiasm), she hugged the Brooklyn Dodgers, partly because of Jackie Robinson, but mostly because my Uncle Larry was such a fanatical Yankees fan.
Then came marriage to Sam Moore in 1954, the year before her Dodgers won their only World Series against Uncle Larry's Yankees, and three sons followed. After a while in Northern Indiana, dad was transferred as an AT&T supervisor from South Bend to Cincinnati to Chicago and then to Milwaukee. We lived at ballparks, stadiums and arenas along the way, with mom leading the family cheers for the local teams.
Pros, colleges, high schools, Pop Warner.
We went to them all.
During my parents' 32 years in Wisconsin, we had partial season tickets in Milwaukee to see those great Bucks teams of Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and we had similar tickets to watch those prominent Marquette basketball teams of the legendary Al McGuire. There also were trips to catch the Packers on the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field or during one of their two home games in Milwaukee back then.
"Yeah, I really loved Brett Favre," mom said Friday, and I could see her smiling over the phone without Face Time from Indianapolis, which became my parents' retirement city 15 years ago. "Brett was so enthusiastic, and all of his teammates seemed to like him. He was a big kid out there. He didn't get mad when people tackled him. Instead, he'd get up and pat them on the back. Unlike a lot of players, he enjoyed the game."
In other words, Favre was the impetus behind this: When my parents moved from Milwaukee to Indianapolis, mom refused to take her Green Bay Packers plates off the front of her car until Favre retired. Now she has Indianapolis Colts plates.
Yep, I had to be a sports journalist.
As for the other person who ranks 1a or 1b as the primary reason for my current profession, well, I'll tell you around Father's Day.