Sandra was a ballplayer herself, a softball pitcher of some renown at Kearney State in Nebraska, so she wasn’t afraid to tell her boy how to play ball himself.
"One of the most competitive people I’ve ever been around,” the now-grown boy said. "She kind of had high expectations. She wasn’t afraid to tell me if she thought I should have played harder or played better.”
Sandra’s husband coached a little, too, but you know the price coaches pay. They spend a lot of time on fields and courts with other people’s kids, at the expense of their own.
So Sandra took the boy to practices and games and delivered the do-better talks.
"There was an expectation that you play at a certain level and with a certain level of effort,” said her husband. "If he didn’t, she wasn’t afraid to tell him.”
It was bad cop/good cop, only with a gender twist.
"I was way more scared of her,” the boy said. "She’s a pretty intimidating lady.”
That will come as a surprise even to those who know Sandra well. She is reserved. Behind the scenes. She often sat down the right-field line when her boy played in high school.
The boy, aside from those postgame drives home, calls his mom "really sweet and caring. I don’t know if she would ever admit that. But she was a great influence, a great person to have around your house.”
Sandra grew up in Sioux Falls, S.D., the daughter of a big-time football and basketball referee in the Midwest, so she was drawn to athletics and keeping quiet in the stands.
She went to Kearney State, met a ballplayer and come July they will have been married 24 years.
Their home revolves around kids, sports and animals.
The family includes six cats and three dogs, counting the last cat, found cowering under a dumpster at a recycling station.
The family also includes Katelyn, who isn’t getting as much of the intimidation as her brother, 10 years her senior.
"We don’t parent as tough on her,” Sandra’s husband admitted. "You’re no doubt tougher on that first one. Believe me, he lets us know about it.”
But that competitive edge helped spring Sandra’s son to great heights.
"It was very beneficial to have someone like that pushing me,” the boy said.
"She knows more about baseball than all the people in the stands and maybe some of them in the dugout.
"I got a lot of my competitiveness from her. She’s really driven and goal-oriented. I got most of those characteristics from her.”
Not the way it usually works for a coach’s son, but it worked out just fine for Sandra’s boy.
And so on this fine Sunday morning, a tip of the cap to the wife of OSU baseball coach Frank and the mother who takes it easy on Katelyn but not so much on Oakland A’s pitcher Brett.
Happy Mother’s Day, to Sandra Anderson.
Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.
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