I fell down…

Ruth Idom passed from this life on Saturday, January 15, 1994.

She was my mother.

I was 17 at the time. My God, the time. I don’t know why I was staring at the clock as her breathing stopped. It was 3:15 p.m. and my head laid on her chest. I wanted her to know I was there. She told me she would do anything for me and I wanted her to keep that promise. I wanted her to live.

Her body couldn’t take anymore, though. I think I cried the whole day, but I didn’t cry myself to sleep that night. They say you pass out when you’re in immense pain. It’s the body’s safety valve. You shut down to keep from dying. I just shut down.

That 17-year-old kid never healed. Who knows if he ever will? I, however, emerged from his broken heart, body and spirit. I pledged to keep the promises he made to his mom. I’m still sensitive to his cries, particularly on January 15.

While the world remembers and celebrates the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I summon the strength to remember and celebrate someone almost no one remembers. The kid screams loudest on this day. I can’t bring his mom back, but I can keep her spirit alive.

I heard about an event at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown St. Louis on MLK Day. There were readings from the works of Dr. King going on all day. You could come in and listen and/or volunteer to read for a time.

On Monday, January 15, 2018 at 3:15 p.m., this happened:

I read Dr. King’s text from the sermon “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.” The power Mr. Good speaks of in his post didn’t came from my voice. It was the kid releasing 24 years of pain and worry to the Son this great building was named after. Ruth’s baby boy spoke from the pulpit and for 15 blessed minutes, all was well with his soul…and mine.

Nice story, Sol, but what does this have to do with sports or sportsmanship?


Sports are not life. They are a part of life. Sportsmanship involves how we treat those we interact with in sports. About 18 hours after I left the pulpit at Christ Church Cathedral, I had to say an encouraging word during our Musial Moments assembly for the kids at Academy of the Sacred Heart in nearby St. Charles, Mo.

Be Good

I had 200 young eyes on me. It was a powerful and humbling moment. I stood and delivered. They learned about Stan Musial. They learned why the mantra of “Have Fun! Be Good! Play Right!” is so important in sports and applicable to everyday life.

Those of us who work with kids aren’t superheroes. We have weaknesses. We break, we hurt and we cry. On Monday, I fell down, but thanks to Dr. King’s words, an encouraging teacher and the enduring spirit of my mom, I got up.


Book Musial Moments for your school or youth organization.

Join the Good Sport Club and more at sportsmanship.org.


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