Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pep Talk: "Those We Influence"

Nobody in youth sports was more punctual to practice; had a cleaner uniform or more moral support, thanks mom.

Mother’s Day 2013. Patricia Sue Perry resides about 600 miles east of the Mile High City. She’s not seen much physically these days but certainly resides in my heart with thoughts, prayers and frequent phone calls.

The intelligent and articulate soul has not had an easy life. Few of us do.

Now in her upper 70’s “Chatty Patty” calls Afternoon Drive with Mac and Goodman often to talk about the sports topics of the day. I enjoy sitting back and watching the opinionated septuagenarian and co-host Eric Goodman debate. It’s amusing to observe the look on my partner’s face. That look of, “This is your mother. Is it okay to debate?”

I chuckle warmly, nod affirmatively, and mutter silently, “Welcome to my world.”

Despite a turbulent childhood, early motherhood, marriages that could not sustain and unfortunate alienation from family, the woman who gave me life has seemed to always rise from the ashes to fight another day.

Reflecting back on the days of my youth, it was all about sports. All the eggs were in one basket for this freckled-faced, buck-toothed southpaw from Raytown, Missouri. Nobody played a larger role in supporting the dreams than my feisty mother.

I was usually the first to arrive at practice. I’m sure there were other things on the self-proclaimed “Missouri farm girl’s” duty list those days considering there were three other kids in our comfortable suburban Kansas City home. Somehow, someway, mom always got me there on time.

Mike, Debbie and Matt, three siblings in order of age, had their respective interests and desires. How mom managed to make sure everybody was where they were supposed to be, when they were supposed to be, was nothing short of astounding.

In caring for our needs, it seems mom found an escape from a childhood where it was often unclear who really cared for hers. This much I do know, she taught me from an early age the importance of responsibility. Be punctual.

Games days of my youth were always filled with excitement and anticipation. I couldn’t wait to pull on the baseball, basketball or football gear and head into battle. Nobody had a cleaner uniform. Nobody had a more diligent sentry ensuring that the balls, bats, cleats, gloves, helmets, shoes and other stuff necessary to compete were in the duffel bag. I was taught from an early age, be prepared. Thanks mom.

Born in rural northwest Missouri and raised in a city, St. Joseph, known for being the “Home of the Pony Express,” Patsy Sue had her own dreams of being an athlete. That was unusual and, considering it was the 1940’s, unacceptable for a young female. Sports and girls were not synonymous back then. Few encouraged her to compete. In retrospect, it’s pretty easy to comprehend why she enjoyed, after getting me to games on time with required equipment and sparkling uniform, sitting in the stands and cheering on the team.

Those of you who are frequent readers of the weekly Pep Talks know encouragement is a favored word. Defined as “to give hope and confidence to,” every time this aging jock stepped to the plate, under center,  or the foul line of youth sports, there was usually a “Come on Marko!” booming from mom’s mouth. From an early age, I learned the importance, and power, of being supportive. Thanks mom.

Time, experiences and life continue to roll on. Wonderful memories of childhood fade a bit as the journey brings unexpected and unwanted challenges physically, emotionally and financially. What’s the old saying, “Life gets in the way of our best laid plans?”

Through it all, it’s heartwarming to know one thing has remained constant. Like the flow of the mighty Missouri River that forever streams southward on the western edge of Patsy Sue Perry’s hometown, my mother has never failed to be supportive of my endeavors.

Athlete. Student. Injured athlete. Sportscaster. Husband. Father. Single parent. Speaker. Author. Business Owner. In all endeavors for this simple dude from Missouri, mom’s encouraging words remain, “Come on Marko!”

On your special day, thanks mom. You taught me at a tender age three important qualities I plan on taking to the grave. A terrific trio that, while not ensuring success, certainly don’t hinder the effort wherever we roam.

Be punctual. Be prepared. Be supportive. Mom was a guiding light, demonstrating these traits. Let’s do the same this week for those we influence - home, work and elsewhere!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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