If you play sports, odds are you have a sports mom.
She’s your biggest cheerleader, and maybe a critic when needed.
She’s the one serving tray after tray of lasagna to the starving swim team.
She’s the one wearing her down parka and holding an umbrella in April as sleet patters into the puddles along the edge of the soccer field.
Sports moms, we know you’re out there, thousands strong, slicing up oranges, bandaging knees, soothing the sting of loss and celebrating the joy of victory.
On this Mother’s Day, we celebrate you and all you do. Meet these moms who are right there next to you in the bleachers.
Trish Morey: ‘Making tons of food’
Trish Morey wasn’t much into sports when she was a student at Fulton High School back in the day.
But two athletic daughters changed everything for her. From their first attempts at soccer and softball, Morey’s world slowly began to revolve around game and practice schedules, balls, bats, track spikes and, finally, one very long pole.
“I was the chauffeur, not just for the girls. I ended up taking other kids if they needed to go,” Trish Morey said of daughters Ashlee, now 25, and Brittnee, 18. Ashlee is a cosmetologist now; Brittnee just finished her first year at the University of Detroit Mercy, where she is a pole-vaulter on the track team.
Besides the driving, it was simple, really: “It was always making tons of food and being their biggest cheerleader,” Morey said.
Ashlee played softball, basketball, volleyball and tennis, and she also swam. Brittnee played tennis, basketball and volleyball, then picked up pole-vaulting in high school. Her skill earned her a partial scholarship, along with academic awards.
“With her still competing in college, we still will go watch her,” she said. “There’s less traveling, less meal prep. We just get to go watch and cheer her on.”
Morey and her husband, Mike, still help out with football and track at Sexton.
For her part, Morey said she learned from the experience as well. Patience, for one. And more.
“I guess what I’ve learned, and what I’ve tried to teach them, is no matter how bad it got, to try to be positive,” she said.
She walks that talk.
“Anything that we’ve ever needed, she’s been there,” said Sexton Athletic Director Dan Boggan. “The kids love her, coaches love her. She’s unbelievably dependable and we’ve truly been blessed by having her.”
Sonya Grosser: ‘We’re there to support him’
The empty feeling of looking into the crowd, searching for your parents, and not consistently spotting your loved ones stuck with Sonya Groesser.
The 1991 Portland High School grad, who was a three-sport athlete in basketball, cheerleading and softball, vowed to herself to never let that happen when she became a parent.
“For me, I was one of those kids whose parents weren’t necessarily able to make all the games,” Groesser said. “(My parents) only came to home games – they didn’t like to travel. And they weren’t much into sports, either.
“To me, I know how I felt, looking up in the crowd and not seeing my mom and dad there. I didn’t want my child to feel like that.”
So, when Groesser’s oldest of two children, Treyvin, a senior baseball and football standout, started attending her alma mater, she put it on herself to make sure that she was seen.
Treyvin Groesser has played baseball and football all four years at Portland. He played basketball until his sophomore year. His mother hasn’t missed a game – home or away.
“I want him to know that we’re there to support him, whether he does good or does bad,” Sonya Groesser said. “To me, that’s being his mom.”
Sonya Groesser’s involvement doesn’t stop there. Every Friday during football season, she sends her son motivational messages. She can be found outside of the stadium’s gate on game nights, tailgating with other parents while wearing a t-shirt with the family’s last name on the back. After games, win or lose, her family, along with others from the football team, gather at the Wagon Wheel American Grill.
Sonya Groesser also runs the Portland Athletic Association Twitter account and website. She was asked to do so because of her career in web design and IT, which allows her to work on the road as she travels to her son’s games.
Treyvin Groesser never has to gaze around and wonder where his parents are.
“It’s truly a blessing,” he said. “Just knowing that your parents are there, it’s truly a blessing.”
–James L. Edwards III
Amy Kissman: ‘Enjoy the little things’
Amy Kissman has always had a busy lifestyle involving sports.
She was a three-sport high school athlete at Berrien Springs in southwest Michigan. And she followed that by going on to play softball at Division II Hillsdale College, where she was an academic All-American.
Now the busy life in sports for the Mason resident involves following daughters Autumn and Sage around at their activities. Autumn is a high school senior who has excelled in three sports at Mason and is signed to play basketball at Oakland University. Sage is an eighth grader who enjoys basketball and volleyball.
“I don’t think until you actually are a parent and living the life on that side that you really truly appreciate maybe how much your parents really sacrifice for you,” Kissman said. “Looking back on it, I know my parents, grandparents and family members were always there to support me and my activities. Certainly I always appreciated they were there, but probably didn’t really fully understand what they did in order to support me growing up until living that life right now through my own eyes watching my own daughters.”
The days are busy for the Kissman family. The entire school year is filled juggling the activities of both children. There’s also travel sports and Sage has played AAU volleyball for a team based in Grand Rapids since November. That further complicates the schedule.
With the year-round involvement in sports, Kissman said one of the biggest challenges is trying to find quality family time.
“With work and just trying to keep up on things that we need to keep up on around the house with being gone a lot, that can be challenging,” Kissman said. “It’s just really making sure that we can take the time to enjoy the little things and enjoy each other.”
Kissman said she wouldn’t trade her experience as a busy sports mom for anything and has enjoyed seeing her daughters grow and learn life lessons through their involvement in athletics.
“Especially now with Autumn coming up here on graduation soon, it’s definitely a time of reflection,” Kissman said. “Life gets busy and you take for granted all of the blessings that you have maybe at the time that you’re in it. It’s a time to reflect and just really appreciate the time that we’ve had, and the family time that we’ve had through enjoying the sports that we all enjoy.”