Rooting for the Twins -- if only for a day

If a man can't be supportive and loyal to his mother who loves and supports him, I'd say he has the consistency of foam off the whitecaps on a windswept lake.

If a man can't be supportive and loyal to his mother who loves and supports him, I'd say he has the consistency of foam off the whitecaps on a windswept lake.

My consistency was put to the test earlier this week when the Minnesota Twins played the Detroit Tigers in the one-game playoff to decide which baseball team advanced to the American League Division Series.

My mother Maebel, now 101 and of strong mind and even stronger loyalties, is a huge fan of the Twins. She rarely missed one of their games on TV. She carefully clips their weekly schedule out of the newspaper and can click her remote right to the proper channel.

She's so faithful to them that even when I am with her visiting, she'll turn on their game and crank up the sound so she can hear it as well, making conversation with her favorite son nearly impossible.

That's a true fan.


So when I called her Tuesday at her apartment in the Northfield (Minn.) Retirement Center, she had a message for me.

"Be sure to cheer for the Twins," she told me.

That's where my problem came in. I am, as many of you know, a fan of the Chicago White Sox. Doesn't matter that the White Sox were eliminated earlier. They're still my team, the Twins are not.

But when my mother told me to cheer for them, I had no choice, as difficult as it was. And I had to watch them, too, since I knew she'd want to talk about the game the next time I called.

I'd normally rather light a fire in my cabin fireplace with $20 bills than turn my TV to a Twins game and CHEER for them.

It's not just my mother than pressured me into this, either. My sister called from California and she sent the same message -- cheer for the Twins.

So maybe I did, inwardly, though my voice was as quiet as the night air surrounding my remote cabin in the Minnesota northwoods.

I must admit it was one of the best games I've ever seen, complete with blunders on both sides and almost as much drama, suspense and action as hooking a 20-pound northern with a light spinning reel.


As the game spun into extra innings, I did call California and asked my sister if she was having a heart attack watching it.

Just being the supportive son/brother that I had been instructed to be, I figured.

I'd learned a valuable lesson long ago from my mother, not surprising since she was a teacher early in her life.

Whenever my White Sox played her Twins and we talked about that, she'd always say: "May the best team win."

So I put some of her great wisdom into my heart Tuesday as I watched hour after hour of the game spin by.

Of course the Twins eventually won. They must have been the best team since who am I to question my mother's great wisdom?

I don't know of anyone in my family who isn't a fan of the Twins. My late father liked them, my son and daughter do, as well and my sister, mother and assorted other relatives who adore them.

So, for one night in my life, I joined them in pulling for the Twins -- sort of. It wasn't easy.


When the game ended, I quickly shut off the TV, didn't watch any of the celebration or the reaction of the fans and players.

I'd done my job. Cheered for the Minnesota Twins today. Been a good son/brother.

Game over, I clicked off the TV, opened the front cabin door, and heard the distant call of the loons.

Or maybe, just maybe, it was the echo of cheers coming from my mother and sister.

Whatever it was, at that moment, life was good.

Virg Foss, who wrote sports for the Grand Forks Herald for 36 years until his retirement, now writes a weekly column for the Herald. Contact him at .

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