My mother is a huge Tiger Woods fan. Even now, one second after typing that sentence, I cannot believe that I just wrote those words. But it’s true. Somehow, it’s really true.My mother, as I have written many times before, does not care at all about sports. I usually make this point by telling the unearned runs story -- when my first baseball story appeared in a newspaper, Mom said she liked it but asked, “Who are you to decide that a run is unearned?” -- but the truth is there are a lifetime of stories like that. There is no single story that could capture the day-after-day-after-day scorn she has expressed for these silly little games that took up way too much of my attention. I would never be able to count the times my mother shook her head at her oldest son and said the word “Sports!” with disdain. Nothing on earth seemed sillier to her. She came by this sports indifference honestly … my mother’s father, if possible, had even less use for sports. My grandfather was a scholar in the old fashioned sense of the world. He was actually a tailor, but in every free moment you would find him in his library reading. It was never light reading. Never. He read history. Philosophy. Ideology. Law. I have this memory of him reading a medical journal of some kind. My grandfather read in four or five languages, there was some disagreement about that, and he would not read a novel if it was the last book left on earth. Shakespeare was too slight for him. Romance was beneath contempt.And sports? My grandfather, more than once, would do this little one act play for me. The newspaper would come, and my grandfather -- a small but sturdy man who I believe could have sustained himself on hot water alone -- would take the paper in his two hands. He would very carefully take out the sports section (which, in those days, was often part of another section, like business). And then, he would tear it from the rest of the paper, march like John Phillip Sousa, and dramatically stuff it in the garbage. “That,” he used to say, “is what I think of sports.”My mother was a slightly less devout a non-sports fan -- she always liked the Olympics, especially the Winter Olympics, especially the figure skating -- but only slightly less devout. She never, ever was in the room when there was a baseball game or football game or basketball game on television. She did not come to watch my Little League games, as far as I know she never even considered it. This wasn’t a lack of attention -- my mother always was VERY attentive to my life. It’s just that we did other things -- read together, played board games and cards together, went to the movies together. Sports was for me and my father. She thought it a complete and utter waste of time.*
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