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The Cowboys were ahead when Mom left us

Oct 16, 2012 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

She was a supporter of her favorite teams, her kids and her grandchildren, to the end.

I haven't decided if it is easy or not easy raising a family in Riverton. But I know that my parents, and many, many other parents of my classmates' friends and parents of our kids' friends have made our community in the center of Wyoming a better place.

And for that today I am so thankful. We need to keep working to continue their legacy.

When spring rolled around when we were young, my brother and I knew there would be three parks to visit before baseball season started. For the eight or so years that we were playing in Little League Baseball, our folks would take us to the neighborhood Teter Park, then to Hilltop (now the grassy area north of Jackson Elementary School along North Eighth West) and finally to City Park. That is where the Little League fields were in Riverton before being consolidated to where they are today on Smith Road.

Later, we got to add the Babe Ruth Park to our annual tour, because that is where not only the Babe Ruth League was played, but Riverton's American Legion Baseball program also called the park home for many years.

Parents had the responsibility for getting fields ready to go, and our folks, like others, pitched in.

Dad's job was to make sure the P.A. systems were working. We had to climb ladders to get into the score booths at Teter and Hilltop. and he let us goof off announcing imaginary games as he made sure the tubes in the old amplified systems were doing their job. You didn't know that Brooks Robinson once played at Teter Park, did you?

But the real treat was after Mom and her friends finished cleaning and stocking the concession stand, making sure it was ready for us when the seasons started.

Later in the summers, our home was opened to kids from all over the state who needed housing for swim meets or baseball tournaments, with hosts being responsible for breakfast and transportation (and tolerating a house full of kids).

There were uniforms to tie dye for school basketball teams, organization and judging for the local swim meets, and coaching, umpiring, concession stand staffing and scorekeeping for our baseball games.

That's how our parents supported my brother and me. They, like so many others, pitched in.

All the while, of course, they were our biggest fans.

Later, when the grandkids started playing, they were their biggest fans too, continuing to provide love and support after wins and losses.

To my knowledge, my mom, like most moms of her generation, never competed athletically in anything, ever.

But to the very end, sports were interesting to both my parents.

They took my brother and me to our first pro baseball game in St. Louis and to War Memorial Stadium in Laramie to watch the Pokes play several times.

When we weren't there in person, my parents and I never missed listening to the Cowboys' football games on the radio, and my folks continued to watch Wolverine football games when they could. Sunday meant Broncos, and I can't count how many times we enjoyed games together.

Which leads me to this past weekend.

My mom was a great decorator. So it was no coincidence that we had gathered Friday night to listen to the Wolverines with the colors of fall --oranges, yellows, and reds -- surrounding us.

The difference was that even though we were back in Riverton, we here in her room at the Help For Health Hospice Home.

She had reminded grandsons Cody and Chris that Riverton played Douglas Friday and that we needed a radio.

We listened, talked and remembered.

On Saturday afternoon, she immediately wanted to know how grandson Kyle's Jamestown College team had done at their homecoming game.

She knew the Pokes played in the evening and that Dave Walsh, her favorite, would have the play by play.

Wyoming was ahead when she fell asleep.

I miss both my parents dearly. But I am so thankful for so many reasons, but especially that they were so supportive of both my brother and me.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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