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For as long as I can remember, my mother loved sports.

She would spend countless hours watching the Atlanta sports teams play. It was her that introduced me to my love of sports as she religiously read front front to back the Atlanta newspaper sports pages.

Since we only had two televisions growing up in our small three-bedroom home in northwest Atlanta, she would willingly allowed me to watch sports on it as my sisters watched their sitcoms on the weekend.

On Monday, I lost my biggest supporter and sports fan when my mother, Ozzie Mae Mahone, passed at the age of 95.

I was there by her bedside when our Lord called her home after a brief illness.

While this week has been tough as we prepare for Saturday’s home-going ceremonies, I’ve had those sports that my mom introduced me to as comfort.

It wasn’t until I got into sports writing that I realized that I had the greatest sports mom. She was never one to complain to the coaches about playing time or any of the other stuff I see parents do.

She was there as my support.

Often times her car was used as the only transportation for my teammates in the neighborhood.

During my sophomore year as we were heading to camp at Woodward Academy, she willingly took several of my teammates that didn’t have transportation.

It was very common when we didn’t walk home from practice, there would be a pile of us in her car. She would drop everyone off at their home.

As my knowledge of sports grew, so did my mother’s.

I remember us sitting in front of the television watching games, and she would ask me why players or teams would be doing certain things throughout the game.

Watching the NFL on Sunday after church would be our bonding time. When her job with a Fulton County senior citizens program would give her tickets to the Braves game, I would always be there at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

I seen a share of those Hank Aaron homers and Phil Niekro knuckleballs because of mom love for sports.

When I got on part-time at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution while still in college, I didn’t tell her. I let her read my article in the paper.

You should have seen the glow in her eyes when her son was a sportswriter.

After becoming full-time and moving out on my own, she would call each time my article would appear in the paper.

We would talk about family business but there never was a conversation that didn’t drift towards sports.

And graceful for all that my mother has taught me about life and for her support. It was because of her that I developed my love of sports and found my passion in life to be a sportswriter.

Mom, thanks for everything. And its time for you to get your rewards in Heaven.

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