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Backbone of the family, shoulder to lean on

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 11, 2008 at 12:38 am •  Published: May 11, 2008
Jerry always has been protective of the men in her life.

She called up the basketball office one day, wanting the phone number of a certain broadcaster who she deemed too harsh on her son.

When an opposing coach exchanged words with her other son after a tournament title game, Jerry found the coach's hotel, called his room and in no uncertain terms left a message that told the coach to watch his mouth around her boy.

"She's the best,” said the oldest son. "She has been the backbone of our family since we were born.”

Jerry's dad was a coach, so she knew what she was in for when she married a coach. A juggling act between her husband's and boys' schedules, and deciding whether to hold her tongue when the knuckleheads in the crowd critiqued the coaching, and often raising two really active boys alone when her husband was on the road.

"She's always been the one that's been there all the time with us,” said Jerry's oldest son.

A common sight a few years ago: Jerry sitting in the stands of her younger son's high school game, flipping back and forth between radio stations broadcasting her husband's and other son's games.

Along the way, Jerry became the shoulder to lean on or cry on. The boys knew their dad would deliver cold, hard truth.

"Mom is the one we call when we can't get sympathy from Dad,” said the oldest boy. "There's nothing like a mother's voice. Hear her soothing voice or go home and be around her.”

The oldest boy figures he's a lot like Jerry. He's reserved like his dad but sensitive like his mom. "My dad and my brother are really not sensitive to anything,” he said.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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