Wednesday, May 8, 2013
You don't have to look hard to find them, and more times than not, if you have a question about one player on the field, you get five or nine answers in reply.
They aren't just there to enjoy the weather. They know what's going on, they know the score, they know how well their child is doing – or not doing – and they are quietly living and dying with each pitch.
But to look at them singularly, or collectively, you'd never know it as they are always smiling.
Let me say first and foremost, without these moms I'd be lost.
If I'm standing along the sidelines at a baseball or softball game taking pictures it's most likely because a sports mom told me where to go and what time to be there. They are my life support system.
They are the ones I talk with to get game results and information. They are the ones who forward me photographs of big games that may be too far away, but for them it's a drive into town to go shopping.
You can find them often stacked in the bleachers, closely together, drawing support from each other. Or you can find them seated in lawn chairs lined up in a row behind the backstop.
They can't get any closer to the action unless they set up their seats in the dugout or along the first base line.
These moms are a special breed.
There are nights where the damp, cold air seeps in off Lake Moultrie and makes watching a baseball or softball akin to being locked in a dank and dark basement. They are outfitted in every article of clothing they may own and they look good wearing it, too.
While dads may opt for the propane powered space heaters, moms thrive on the bodily warmth of the collective group seated closely together in the stands.
If you want to know what's going on, just find a mom and ask, she'll tell you. They'll all tell you.
Two innings later they might be finished telling you, and then they might not. Still, I'll stand there and listen, because talking to moms is fun.
You learn so many things. They have as much a feel for the game as their husbands – the dads, all gathered behind home plate in a serious, grumbling huddle – but unlike their husbands they have fun.
For these moms, every night – wet or dry, warm or cold – is a fun night on the ball field, and to a woman, they know these precious seconds are counting down. Fast.
It'll be over for them soon and they don't want that, as much because of the sisterhood these women form as watching their kids play.
When the senior moms move on at the end of the year, they are missed and their absence felt at the start of the next year. But the game goes on with a new batch of moms welcomed into the fold, and assignments dished out like playing cards.
It has to be this way because moms make things happen. The games will go on without them. But they won't be near as fun.
Happy Mother's Day.