MAHONE: Mom was a big sports fan

Derrick Mahone, left, enjoyed watching and attending Atlanta Braves games with his mother while growing up in Atlanta.  (Special Photo)

Derrick Mahone, left, enjoyed watching and attending Atlanta Braves games with his mother while growing up in Atlanta. (Special Photo)

There use to be a time when the cameras flashed to the sidelines of an athletic event, athletes would smile, and blurt out, “Hi mom.”

It seemed they all wanted to pay homage to their mothers. I longed for the opportunity to have that chance to be on national TV, and give a shout-out to my mother.

But my athletic career would go no further than my high school years.

Trying to find a professional or college athlete to give a tribute to their mother is a lost possibility these days. It is not to say that they don’t love or respect their parents, but nowadays, athletes on all levels are too busy dancing, clowning or just self-indulging grandstanding to pause to pay homage to their mothers.

But as we approach Mother’s Day weekend, it’s time to reflect on our mothers. They are the ones that turned their vehicles into taxis as athletes get shuffled from practices to games.

Our mothers sit through the rain and cold to root for us in near empty stadiums and gyms. There is perhaps no bigger fan of the athlete than their mothers.

“She is my No. 1 fan,” Jonesboro volleyball and basketball standout Michaelle Smith says of her mother, Danielle Smith.

And if you ever want to meet Danielle Smith, just attend a Cardinals basketball game or volleyball match. She shouldn’t be too hard to find.

“My mother is the one person that you will hear in the stands cheering,” Michaelle says with a smile.

As always, mothers not only root for their athlete, but fill the void when other players parents can’t attend the game.

Kendalyn Arceneaux doesn’t mind sharing her mother, Charlesette Arceneaux, with her teammates.

“She is not only there for me, but for the entire team,” said Kendalyn, a standout softball, basketball and golfer, who has signed a softball scholarship to Grambling State. “She is a team mom. She is there cheering for the whole team.”

As we know, behind ever successful person is a mother. And young athletes know this too well.

“She means the world to me,” is the way Jonesboro wrestler Jalaal Malik describes his mother.

For me, it was the same growing up and competing in athletes. There was nothing like seeing your mother in the stands as your No. 1 fan.

This is not an easy task because like most mothers today, they first put in a full day’s work, and then spend the evening sitting on uncomfortable bleachers to root for you and your teammates.

Growing up, I can remember taking in Braves games with my mother as we watched the likes of Bob Horner, Dale Murphy and Phil Niekro at old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

As she sat in her favorite chair and me on the edge of her bed, we would watch NFL games on Sunday afternoons after church. It was a regular occurrence as me and several of my teammates would pile into our car to be shuttle to a youth league game.

While 93 years of age has robbed my mother of some of her memory, I still have those thoughts tucked away in my mind of times spent with my mother at athletic events.

When I got my first journalism job at 27 years ago, I could always expect a call from my mother saying she saw the story I did on some athlete or team.

At some point on Mother’s Day, please don’t forget to give your mother a big hug and a well-deserved “thank you” for her many sacrifices.

As newly crowned NBA MVP Kevin Durant said in his acceptance speech earlier this week, our moms are the real MVPs.

Derrick Mahone is the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at dmahone@news-daily.com. On Twitter? @DerrickMahone_