With baseball’s spring training underway, I try to keep up on what’s happening with my second favorite sport. And, while reading the various articles, I came across a Toronto Blue Jay’s article, which happened to mention a relief pitcher that made his debut last season for them – Joe Biagini (be-a-genie). And this reminded me of my Mom.
Mom wasn’t a really big sports fan, but she did exhibit more patience and knowledge of the games than most “sports wives”. She liked (by liked I mean tolerated) hockey, despite Dad giving her a black eye at a game (he got over-excited when they scored and raised his arms screaming “yes” – she happened to be leaning forward at the time) and baseball, despite having had someone spit in her hair at a game (that’s what she remembered – not who played, or who won – just that she didn’t like the environment).
She wouldn’t complain when pro basketball was on, but she hated football. November and December were when she’d complain the loudest – “There’s nothing on but football. Why do they (broadcast stations) do that?”. Luckily for her, because we were Patriots fans, back then football season ended early. She watched golf, which was probably the only sport that she knew the rules to. She liked Palmer and Nicklaus. And she never interrupted a game – any game – to ask questions (first rule of sports).
But for me, the funniest thing was when she’d talk about the players. She knew that “Jim Lawnmower” was the ace of the ’67 Red Sox staff. When I corrected her and told her it was “Lonborg”, not lawnmower, she said well it sounds like they said lawnmower. The same held true for hockey – Larry Goodenough, a defenseman for the Philadelphia Flyers was another one. When I explained to her that he was a player, she told me she thought when she’d hear the announcers say”Goodenough with the puck”, they were referring to the talent involved with the stick handling – they were doing “good enough”. There were more players and phrases over the years, but these are the ones that immediately come to mind.
Which is why I wondered what she would think of Joe. My guess is, as she listened to the announcers (“And Biagini strikes him out”), she’d think that he was “being like a genie” and magically getting someone out. My Mom always had a way to bring a smile to my face, and now, years after she’s passed, she’s done it again. Thanks Mommy.