Thomas Ranson: More than just a team mom
It’s not a position found on a resume.
Yet, it’s one of the most important volunteer duties for a mom during her child’s sports experience. Regardless of the sport, the team mom is vital and does her work mainly behind the scenes while the coaches round up the players, preparing them for the game.
Responsible for coordinating the players’ families — it’s more than just signing up for team snacks and drinks — the team mom works tirelessly making sure the players are having fun off the field and getting every ounce out of what they just signed up. Figuring out cap sizes, T-shirt sizes, food allergies, among many other duties, the team mom holds the team together, ensuring a successful and positive season.
We lost our team mom last week after a lengthy battle with several illnesses that were too much to overcome.
Sylvia Ranson, who met my father in England before moving across the pond to live the rest of her life, was everything you’d expect from a team mom, but more. She co-coached my AYSO team when I was little, became the team mom when I was on the Orioles Little League team and was beyond ecstatic when I was picked to be on the Giants – her favorite team – for my last two years of Babe Ruth baseball.
And she was the same for my brother and sister, who both played sports.
Mom helped my brother’s Cal Ripken teams — the Indians and A’s — and my sister’s softball teams before heading into middle and high school. Her support and dedication never stopped. She attended all our tennis, football and track events. Rooting us on to do our best and that one day, this avenue could lead to helping us in college. I wanted to play tennis at the next level, but it never happened although I had opportunities at Doane College in Nebraska and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. Ultimately, I wanted to stay close to home and did so by finishing my schooling at Western Nevada and UNR, while playing in local USTA tennis tournaments.
My brother was the only one to make it past high school sports. He suited up for a small Midwest college’s football team and my mom made the trip to watch him play before he moved back to the Silver State. She was excited to see him run onto the field, fulfilling his dream of playing college football. It wasn’t Division I or the NFL, but it didn’t matter to her when it came to watching him compete.
That’s the mom we grew up loving before illnesses took over, one by one before it was too late. We were fortunate that she was able to meet our family when our eldest was born. By the time our second and last daughter was born, the toll began to wear on my mom, making it impossible for us to connect until last week when we said our final goodbyes over Zoom. Within five minutes, she was gone but no longer suffering.
While we couldn’t connect the last several years of her life, she was always with us. Her support during my childhood could only be matched by my father, as it should be. But it was more than just being a team mom for the other players. She always pushed me academically and athletically.
She introduced me to track after another bad experience in baseball discouraged me from wanting to play again. We worked together, taking many laps around Laura Mills Park. She was really into speed walking and gave several classes in addition to racing occasionally in Carson City.
She loved watching her children participate in extracurriculars, including sports. My mom helped me find a love for music when I began learning the clarinet in fifth grade and made the honor band and competed at all-state events in high school.
It will be these moments – and there are plenty – that will resonate the most as I reflect on my relationship with my mom. These experiences have helped guide me as my wife and I instill the same approach with our two daughters. They, too, have a passion for sports as they both want to play volleyball and one day start for the Wolf Pack.
It has always been our hope, our desire and our wish for them to aim for the stars in everything that they do. And by having a part of my mom with them, there’s no doubt that they will become amazing, influential and dedicated women who will help make a difference in this world.
We will all miss you – our team mom – every day you’re not with us but we also take comfort in knowing that you’re above the clouds, watching over us.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org