What does this picture of my fashion model mother from the early 1950s have to do with my activities as the in-game announcer for the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League?
Mum embodied — among many other good qualities — three specific character traits that helped her to overcome unforeseen obstacles and unexpected difficulties on the road of life — toughness, determination, and what my legendary Stampede Wrestling predecessor, the late Ed Whalen always used to call, "stick-to-it-iveness" — that is, an iron-clad determination to never give up, never quit, and always find a way to reach her goals in life. In addition to this, Mum always managed to look beautiful while exemplifying all of these traits.
Mum played field hockey in middle school in England. She was a goaltender. Later on, she learned different styles of music and mastered a variety of musical instruments. As this picture shows, Mum also worked part time as a fashion model. She pursued further education in both Paris and London to become a teacher. Later, when she met Dad, she juggled teaching with being a wife and a mother.
When the province of Alberta no longer recognized her Teacher Training Certificate from, " across the pond," Mum simply shrugged her shoulders and ploughed through two and a half years of full time university education to get the bit of paper that the province did recognize, before resuming her teaching career. During this time, she also became a pretty fair bowler.
In addition to English, Mum spoke French, Blackfoot, Russian, and Japanese. After retiring from teaching, she pursued yet several more years of higher learning in order to serve as a minister in her church.
Throughout her life, Mum had a heart to see girls and women succeed in whatever they decided they wanted to do with their lives. She was not just a supporter of their dreams, but even more than that — an encourager of girls and women personally. As a one-time field hockey goaltender, Mum’s desire to see women succeed certainly included in the arena of sports.
This is where such a large part of my motivation to serve with the Calgary Inferno has always come in. As the in-game announcer, I am not simply doing a job that I enjoy. I am, as one member of the larger support structure of the team, actively enabling the players to pursue their goals and dreams on the ice. I’d like to think Mum would be proud of my involvement with the Inferno as a way of both supporting and encouraging these ladies, just as she always had a heart for doing.
I have often thought about sponsoring some kind of annual, "Mother Spelvin Award." It would go to the Inferno player who best exemplifies guts, determination, and stick-to-it-iveness, and looks beautiful while doing it. Of course, that would be every player on the Inferno roster. How could you possibly choose just one?
Unforeseen obstacles and unexpected difficulties on the road of life can occur in sports, just as they can in all areas of life. Mum proved time and again throughout her life that temporary setbacks are really nothing more than opportunities to learn, regroup, and mount an even stronger assault on achieving your goals. Whether she realized it or not, Mum was modelling this way of living for girls and women of all ages and every era. That is the kind of example that never goes out of fashion.
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Photo credit to the author.