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Mother Lode

Sports help mom mine golden times, silver linings

May 07, 2010
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George Washington may be the father of our country, but he gave someone else the credit for his success.

"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her." Mary Ball Washington may not have been the first Little League mom, but she did have a hand in creating one of the nation's first All-Americans.

Every successful man is said to have a woman standing behind him. Before Washington's wife, Martha, came along, the first President's mom paved the way with her attention. Mary Washington baked, sat on the porch and went fishing with her son.

These virtues are celebrated on Mother's Day and are on exhibit in profiles of five Washington County women in today's Sports section.

These five mothers are a small cross section of local women who use athletics to help encourage their children to strive to strive for ambitious goals.

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Now, more than ever, mothers have become major forces in the physical aspects in the upbringing of their children. Mothers are using sports and athletics to get their children fit while teaching life lessons.

There are thousands of minivans to prove it.

"There is nothing better than being able to sit and watch your kids play. To see kids succeed and to see the process of succeeding, it is a wonderful feeling," said Teresa Russ, a mother of four, including Williamsport High School athlete Reggie Russ. "Sports are a key stepping stone." "I want them to be better than I am," Russ said.

Each of today's featured mothers have their own methods for using athletics to get the desired results.

"Sports have given my kids confidence to do what they are doing. I never want to be a mom who keeps their kids around here. We wanted them to do great things," said Carol Costello, who is nearing the end of a 16-year run of attending St. Maria Goretti athletic events to cheer on each of her five children.

Sports are a way for mothers to get closer to their children as they grow and mature.

"It is more fun when you talk," said Mary Zielinski, who has helped launch her daughter Sarah into competitive running. "It's important because high school is a rough time. You want to know what is going on in their lives.

When you run, you have a captive audience." For Smithsburg athletic director Teresa Bachtell, who has watched her daughter, Rachel Brashear, grow into the coach of the Leopards' state champion volleyball team, the games are part of the foundation their entire close-knit relationship.

"Being an athlete prepares you for life, but if you don't have good work habits, it's not going to matter," Bachtell said. "If you don't get out and try, you will never have the chance to be the hero. If you never have that chance, you are missing something.

"In sports, you are on a battlefield. It is a good thing about coaches. You see kids at their best and at their worst. Winning and losing ... it defines people. When you are a coach, you are part of the best of times and the worst of times in a kid's life. That is the rewarding part." And the reward comes with the look in a child's eyes when they experience success.

"My big thing is being as positive as possible," said Lori Hardman, the manager of L&C Cleaning, a minor league team at American Little League. "I think it's great to hear that little voice saying, OEI'm trying to get a hit for you.' It's good because they are trying to do their best and make a difference for me and they want to make their parents proud."

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