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Cherishing a Mother's Love

Herald Bulletin - 7/7/2022

Jul. 7—I know there is a lot going on in sports right now with conference realignment, coaching news, Brittney Griner, and another NFL victim of CTE that would be worthy topics of an opinion column, but I received some gut-wrenching news this morning that completely sidetracked my train of thought.

And since writing can be both torture and therapy, I thought I'd take a stab at the latter and try to articulate what my mother means to me.

RuthAnn Hunt was diagnosed Thursday morning with dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.

I know I'm not the first son to hear such news about a parent, but those words are as devastating as I'd ever imagined them to be.

What does this have to do with sports?

Not much, other than the fact that she is one of the reasons I fell in love with sports. She nurtured that love and has always fostered undying support for me as I pursued a career in the field.

We are a Cincinnati Reds family and we would always tune in when they were on television and if they weren't, the radio was dialed in to WLW, the team's flagship station. They were always a frequent topic of conversation at the dinner table and my mom was a more than active participant.

We traveled to the Queen City many times for games at Riverfront stadium and that was where she taught me about frugality, explaining that it was cheaper to feed a family of five with a stop for carry-out at Long John Silver's or Kentucky Fried Chicken on the way to the ballpark than to buy us all overpriced hot dogs at the game.

It was a lesson I also learned when shopping for shoes as she denied me the $100-1985 money-Nike Air Jordans, instead opting for the $10 sneakers at Portland's discount store, which my brothers and I dubbed "3D Specials."

She has always liked football and basketball as well, but baseball is her favorite.

She was that mom when my brothers and I were playing youth sports as well. The mom who always made sure we got to the games and practices on time, ensured that our uniforms were clean, and that our equipment needs—batting gloves, bats, or gloves—were met.

Nobody in our family is gifted with great athleticism, but that didn't stop her from coming to watch us flail away at baseball or football games.

Later, when I decided to go back to school to study sports journalism, she and my father were always so supportive, whether with words of encouragement or a few bucks here and there to help out. I really think she enjoys reading my work.

Like most kids, I had always assumed that my parents were invincible. It was a belief that was somewhat confirmed when my mother survived a motorcycle—yes, she rode a motorcycle—accident when I was a kid and kicked breast and lymph node cancer's ass several years ago.

But now, for the first time, I've been forced to deal with the mortality of the woman who birthed me, was tough enough to raise 3 boys and to beat cancer, and has been my biggest cheerleader for the last 50 years.

This is the initial diagnosis and, although somewhat unpredictable, Alzheimer's is a progressive and incurable disease. Ironically, her father was an engineer and one of the smartest people I ever knew, but he was afflicted with the same ailment. It still breaks my heart to think about what it did to him, but may have somewhat prepared me for what lies ahead.

We now know there's a finish line and what it looks like, but we don't know when it will get here.

But until we arrive, I'll spend all my energy and time with her returning the favor, cheering her on and cherishing the moments we have remaining.

Contact Rob Hunt at or 765-640-4886.


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