Mother's Day is right around the corner this Sunday (you're welcome for the heads up to anyone who otherwise forgot) and it's time to give those mothers who brought us into the world the recognition they deserve. There's always the family supper, breakfast in bed or other special events to show mommy that she's a loved lady. It's also a time to think back on all the times mommy was there to be a shoulder to lean on, to support us when we were youth taking part in ____(insert your youth activities here), or to cook and clean for us (don't get riled up feminists, I am a man who cooks and cleans for myself now). For me, mommy was always there at the piano festivals, band concerts, sports games/events or whenever I snapped my fingers and asked for a hand (it's always easier to appreciate a mother's efforts more at an older age than as a needy teenager). But, among all of those memories from the past 24.75 years with mommy, there's one that stands out more than any other: It was at the 2010 National Championship in Kissimee, Florida for our Div. II college team. As was the usual, ma and pa were in the audience, flying out to support their kid halfway across the continent (and then go to Disney World). It was the first game of the tournament, winning meant going on to the semi-finals, losing sent you to the “loser's bracket”. The game was tied 3-3, overtime solved nothing, and we were now in a shootout. Philadelphia hit three of their five shots, while we had hit three of our four shots, with one shooter remaining – me. The math was simple, either I score and we win, or I don't and we likely lose (I had very little faith in our goaltender). Mother also knew that was likely the case however, until she saw me leave the 11-man line at half to walk toward the shootout area, she didn't know I was going to be the one with that responsibility on their shoulders. Paraphrasing what she explained to me of her reaction – probably much like any mother would feel in that situation – she went from an excited nervousness to a “mother's” nervousness. Every mother knows their son. Mother Belinda knew son K-10 is competitive, and the only thing he hates doing more than failing on his own is failing on a whole team. She also knew this would be the last season of college soccer K-10 would ever play; he'd never have a chance at redemption. A missed shot could very likely crush son K-10 and send him into a daily self-induced rum and coke coma (throw in some wine the odd time). The ironic thing was that, at that moment, like any mother would be, she was likely more nervous than I was; all I was thinking was, “How in the h@*# am I getting this ball into that net”. As luck would have it, I scored for the win, our team stormed the field to celebrate, then we ran by the sidelines getting our high-fives along the way. And as great scoring a goal of that magnitude and having a whole team run toward you in celebration felt, I'll never forget my favourite memory from that night. At the end of that line of fans congratulating us was a proud, teary-eyed mother who wasn't waiting for a high five, but instead was waiting to give son K-10 the most sincere, tightly-gripped hug he'd ever received. It was an embrace that lasted only a few seconds, but it seemed to last forever. Without saying it in as many words, it was an embrace let a son know he wasn't the only one who knew how much work had been put into reaching that moment. It was a hug that said, “All those sports trips taken, performances watched, sick days from work, meals cooked, clothes cleaned, butt spankings, and even those nine months of labour, were worth it just to see this moment, son.” It reminded you the most important things you accomplish in life aren't the awards, achievements and accomplishments you collect, it's the people you share them with. The next night our team lost in the semi-finals in another shootout. I was again scheduled to be the fifth and final shooter, but the other team had won the shootout before I got to take my shot. At that time, it was disappointing, I wanted my second chance to lift the team. In hindsight, there could have been no better ending to my college career. I already had my moment. The funny thing is, after all those years of on-field training, enduring injuries, playing scrimmages and battling in games, the one soccer memory I'll never forget happened after the final buzzer sounded. So from every son to their mothers this week, thanks for meeting dad, making me, and then putting up with me for the rest of your life! Until next week, after you've all hugged and thanked your mothers, keep a smile on your face and I'll do the same.