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Maternal instincts overheat when the media criticizes Thunder

Here's a sampling of how basketball players connect with the public, particularly some women who might not be die-hard sports fans, but become die-hard fans of Kevin, Russell, James and “our boys.”
by Berry Tramel Published: July 2, 2012

I received a lot of fun response from my column in the Saturday Oklahoman about the maternal instincts of some Thunder fans. How basketball players connect with the public, particularly some women who might not be die-hard sports fans but become die-hard fans of Kevin and Russell and James and “our boys.”

Here's a sampling:

John: “Reminds me of my wife screaming at the ump when they called a balk on our son. I asked her what a balk is. She said she didn't know except our son wouldn't do it. Keep telling us what balks are.”

Now that was funny. And John is right. Most fans are emotionally involved with their team. But when they become emotionally and personally involved, sometimes rational thought takes a holiday.

Leslie: “Hey Berry! You hit the nail on the head. I am a mother of five, whose first three were girls and never cared about sports until my sons came along. Now I'm playing catch-up trying to learn. Still don't know much.

“But your column was so insightful because it got really heated around my house during the playoffs when daddy and the boys started criticizing various aspects of the Thunder players' games. As a mother of two hard-working, aspiring athletes, I kept saying, ‘knock it off guys, that's some mama's baby you're dissin'!' To no avail.

“Told my 14-year-old son the other day that ‘I love Kevin because he has restored mamas back to their rightful position in sports!'”

You know, Wanda Pratt is no small part of this story. Durant's treatment of his mother most definitely hits home with many.

Don, a loyal reader from Hooker, defended my use of the word “snot:” “In the Panhandle, it was also used to help explain how cold it was. 'Slicker'n snot on a brass doorknob.' Maybe a bit too graphic for some of your new lady friends.”

The use of the word snot really did make my point. I didn't think twice about saying the Heat beat the snot out of the Thunder. But the maternal-minded saw it differently.

Kathy, who partially inspired the original column, wrote back after I used part of her email in my column: “My goodness, but you don't seem able to do proper research, either! Imagine my surprise to read that, according to you, the word 'snot' is 'an old '70s term.' Which millennium? The word dates to the 1300s, Middle English or a little later, 1400s (Middle German, Dutch, Danish.....). And (sigh) I must object to the patronizing tone and tenor of your response to your female readers. We are not all 'Aunt Bees!' Are men's viewpoints somehow more to your liking? And what does that say about your objectivity once again, hmmmm? Ah, but I fear we continue to beat that dead horse, now, do we not? No matter, I believe you are too set in your prejudices to bother with additional debate. In any case, I shall retire, and leave the field to you, so you may rave on as you please. Today you have proven my point. Do you even realize that you have?”

I don't know what Kathy's point was, but if my point was that Kathy was anything like Aunt Bee, I apologize. No one that insufferable ever stepped foot in the hamlet of Mayberry.

Of course, Kathy had company, even from men. Doug: “I do have to agree with Kathy. Like most people in the Oklahoma City area, we simply think your an idiot. I'm sorry but every time I read your column, or heaven forbid watch your one-minute clips, I want to rip my hair out. As do most people when they read or watch trash. And that's exactly what you write.”

Here's what's beautiful about Doug's email. I received it around 8 p.m. Friday. So the office put my column online Friday evening, several hours before it went to press, which has become standard. So some guy who claims to think I'm an idiot, but admits to even watching my videos, reads my column on a summer Friday night, perhaps via Google alert or my Twitter account.

But back to more light-hearted fare. Randy: “So, I'm a guy sitting here with fresh ground coffee and breakfast, laughing out loud at your article. Who knew? Wife of 42 years is much bigger fan of the boys than me, but I never heard her complain about your stuff. Anyway, really entertaining article. As always, you are the best. You big snot.”

Hey, watch your language.

Coleen: “You want me to go punch Kathy?”

No. No violence, please. But here's what's rich about Coleen's email. I've been crossways with her before. She was a big Jason White fan. Back in 2001, when I suggested Nate Hybl should win their first QB derby, Coleen wasn't too smitten with me. Of course, it doesn't hurt that she was right.

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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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