If I were to write everything I feel about my mother, y'all would be here for hours. So I will just tell a story about her.
Mom played every sport she could in high school. Back in the day before Title IX, girls' sports weren't officially recognized as such. They were a "club" called the Girls' Athletic Association (GAA), and as might be expected, they often got the short end of the stick. Mom and her teammates used to put the numbers on the backs of their "jerseys" with masking tape. Mom was always eleven - it was the easiest number to make.
When spring rolled around, the GAA put together a softball team. They practiced and played at weird times because the boys' baseball team got first pick of the only field. So right after school on weekday, Mom and her teammates changed (out of their skirts, of course) and hurried down to the field for their game.
A few minutes into their warmups, the baseball team, which included my mother's older brother, arrived and began to hover. They wanted to practice, and they wanted to practice now. The girls ignored them at first, but then the boys started badgering, teasing them. One by one, my mothers' teammates left the field.
My mother looked around, scooped up a softball, and walked to the pitcher's mound. She blew a bubble - she always, always had gum - and tossed the ball up. Caught it. Up, caught it. Up, down. Bubble. Up, down.
"C'mon, Mike," the boys said. "Get your sister off the field." My uncle shrugged - he knew she was immovable. "Get off the field!" they demanded.
Up, down. Up, down. Glare. Bubble.
Grumbling, they left. Mom's teammates rejoined her, and the game began.
Thanks, Momma. You're my hero.