Their Biggest Fan · 28 June 2014

“Hi Mom!” is what we see athletes mouth the first time (and seemingly every time) they are on TV. Especially, after they make some great play (which is the reason they are getting the close-up in the first place). Bill Cosby has a routine where he points out what seems an injustice. After all, he laments, was it not the dad who played catch and critiqued technique and maybe even coached the athlete? So why did the kid say, “Hi Mom!” instead of “Hi Dad!”?

My boys – Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3 – were or are involved in athletics, but I doubt they will be waving to the cameras mouthing and/or shouting, “Hi Mom!” At least not on the big athletic stage. But even if they did, I would not begrudge their mom or pout because they did not say, “Hi Dad!” I would just be ecstatic about the fact that they somehow got in front of the camera for some outstanding accomplishment.

Still, like Mr. Cosby (and others), I wondered about this television greeting phenomenon.

I wondered if part of the reason for recognizing Mom was because she needs the love. Preachers speak to that need, especially at weddings, when they admonish the husband to love his wife. While prospective husbands need to be told, kids seem to know that their moms need love. They know that Moms need the hugs and kisses no matter how old the kids get.

Dads, on the other hand, just need respect. They need their kids to give them their due. Again, the preacher tells the wife to respect her husband. After all, he needs it like he needs food.

Which is of course why Mr. Cosby laments the fact that the boys on TV say, “Hi Mom!”

Even though it is a comic routine, he is wondering along with all the other fathers in the world (or at least in the audience) whether the kids actually respect their fathers. He is wondering aloud whether they remember all the time and energy those dads spent on helping their kids become the best athletes and men that they could be. But he knows the truth. As do all the dads.

The truth is that the kids do love and respect their moms and dads. They know all the time and energy that their parents gave to them to be athletes or entertainers or regular people, all who may or may not get recognition. And when all is said and done, they know who needs a shout out for always being there if and when that recognition comes. When the camera points at them.

Every athlete has coaches and mentors. The people who help them get better. They also have support people. Their cooks and maids and butlers. Their chauffeurs and fans. Those people who are always there behind the scenes doing what it takes to make things happen. Those people who are there when the kids are at their best and their worst. For most kids, all those people are just one person. Mom.

As Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3 have progressed through their lives, they have been fortunate to have their parents supporting all their endeavors. But I must admit that their mother has been there more than me. She was the one driving them to practices. She was the one that made it to most of their games and meets. She was the one who cheered from the sidelines or the stands regardless of how well they were doing. Or what the weather was like. Sure, I was there too. Mostly. But I must admit that she was and still is their biggest fan.

The same can be said for most athletes out there. Their moms are their biggest fans and most ardent supporters. In the cold and rain, moms are there. In the blazing heat or freezing cold, moms are there. Through thick and thin, moms are there. Always.

So even if kids do not just know that their moms need love and even if Bill Cosby thinks it funny, it is okay. Athletes on TV understand. They get it right when they greet their biggest fan. When they wave to the camera and shout, “Hi Mom!”

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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