Nate Waggenspack: Mom helped shape my love of sports

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Growing up as a sports nut, you might have guessed (correctly) that my parents were at least partially responsible.

Plenty of the insanity I harbor for playing and watching sports, I’ve developed on my own since becoming a teenager, but none of it would be there in the first place if it weren’t for my parents.

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Nate Waggenspack

My dad has been my basketball, soccer and track coach, and we talk about college basketball all the time.

But my mom always has been there, too, and usually as more than a supporter in the stands. She was a soccer coach for me during elementary school, and imagine my surprise when Mom knew just as much about soccer strategy as my Dad!

When I broke my arm during that soccer season, I wasn’t allowed to play because the cast presented a danger to other players. Mom knew I wasn’t interested in sitting on the sidelines, so she got creative. The first solution was to wrap my arm in a towel, which was legal, but made that arm tough to lug around on the field. We came up with a better, lighter solution next time — bubble wrap.

She got everybody in the family into swimming lessons and swim team as soon as we were allowed. We had to become strong swimmers for our annual summer trips to the ocean.

When I got tired of swim team because my friends weren’t doing it, Mom wouldn’t let me quit, but she offered me a deal. If I swam up an age group that whole summer, it could be my last season.

It’s not the only time she’s challenged me when I wanted something, instead of giving it to me. She taught me to ride a bike when one of my friends took his training wheels off one summer. I wanted nothing else for weeks than to remove my own training wheels, and Mom was there every step of the way.

Of course, she’s been incredible supporting me too. Despite her slight stature, nobody is louder than Mom. That made her scary when I was in trouble, but awesome as a cheerleader. No matter how big the crowd was at a track meet, I could hear her hollering for me.

Every ounce of my competitive streak comes from her. For example, my mom and dad spoke the first time because she was calling him out for an illegal hit in a rec volleyball league. When we used to have competitions on who could ride a wave the furthest on our ocean vacations, Rosie (Mom) would pop into the water for just long enough to show us all up.

Nowadays she’s a massage therapist and my personal injury doctor on call from across the country. When I’m concerned about a muscle or joint aching during my running, Mom is the first person I call for advice, and she’s always got a good stretch or exercise for me to try.

Moms are great and deserve to be appreciated for everything they do. Mine has been pretty near perfect for the past 24 years, at least for me. Love you, Mama. Happy Mother’s Day.

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggen

spack@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.

Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports .

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