The mythos of sports is thick with fathers who were determined to see their children succeed on the field. From Earl Woods’ extreme efforts to turn his son Tiger into one of golf’s most storied figures to the plot of Varsity Blues, a dad pushing his kid to athletic stardom is a narrative as old as sports itself. However, this tired trope ignores a universal fact: the power of moms.
Even in the Bay Area, everyone knows that Barry Bonds’ father was a baseball star and that Stephen Curry’s dad made the NBA an integral part of the star shooting guard’s upbringing. Yet in focusing on these stories, we are missing the mothers who also sacrificed to help their children achieve their athletic dreams.
For the Golden State Warriors in particular, there is the combined power of Draymond Green’s mother, Mary Babers-Green, and Kevin Durant’s mom, Wanda Durant. If Twitter hasn’t granted Babers-Green stock options already, they should. She is one of the platform’s most entertaining voices. Meanwhile, Wanda Durant continues to use her time in the spotlight to help those who need it most. While Kevin Durant once declared his mother to be “the real MVP,” the list of MVP moms doesn’t stop at basketball.
In football, to hear Angela Watson speak about her son, San Francisco 49er Dekoda Watson, is to hear maternal pride in its purest form. Watson never let anyone give her son a hard time, and the result is that he’s now making trouble for opponents as a veteran linebacker in the NFL.
Cecilia Ward and her husband moved from Barbados to Canada, and when her son Joel inevitably got bitten by the hockey bug, she did everything in her power to help him thrive — even though she’d never seen an ice rink until comparatively late in life.
In honor of Mother’s Day, here are three stories to prove that even in the male-dominated world of sports, many of our local athletic heroes owe their careers to the incredible women who raised them: