Updated May 7, 2013 - 3:19 pm
Arizona Sports' 2013 'Mama's Boy Week'
Mother's Day is almost upon us.
We often hear children brag about their moms -- especially near Mother's Day -- and why shouldn't we? Without mom, none of us would be here.
But this year, we here at Arizona Sports thought it would be fun if we asked the moms of Phoenix pro athletes to reminisce about their sons' journeys to the top of their profession.
We asked the moms to complete questionnaires about their son's rise to stardom, the challenges they faced and advice shared along the way.
It's all part of Arizona Sports' "Mama's Boy Week" presented by Massage Envy.
1. Describe the moment or time you knew your son had a chance to be a pro athlete?
Bernice Doan, mother of Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan - It never really occurred to me that it was possible until he actually was playing his first game in the NHL. Then I realized this is really happening.
Melinda Dudley, mother of Phoenix Suns swingman Jared Dudley - By his sophomore year in college, that's when I thought he would play in the NBA. When we were in the March Madness tournament, that's when I knew.
Eula Reynolds, mother of Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Matt Reynolds - I knew he could play at the next level his senior year in college, as I sat in the stands and my husband and I would recognize there were scouts in the audience and they were gunning Matt. But for me, the time when I felt he would make it to the Majors was the first time I saw a little boy ask him for his autograph after a game. It was so cool to see kids asking my son for an autograph. I just knew then that he would make it.
Evon Sipp-Easterling, mother of Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Tony Sipp - True story! When he was born, I was going to name him Tony Dorsett Sipp after a NFL football player.
2. What was the biggest hurdle or obstacle your son had to overcome on the way to being a pro athlete?
Bernice Doan - In Junior hockey he tore his ACL and we never really knew if he would ever be able to play to the degree he was playing.
Melinda Dudley - He was in a dorm room for four years at Boston College, and now, for the first time in his life, he was living on his own in a condo. The decision we made as a family that his older brother, Milan, would go out with him to Charlotte to help him with that adjustment.
Eula Reynolds - Working his way up through the minor leagues was tough. Those guys work very hard, it's a tough life on the road. As Matt's friends and his girlfriend (now wife) graduated from college, they got jobs and began to earn a living, Matt could still pack all of his personal belongings into two duffel bags. It is a challenge to focus on making it to the Bigs when you feel everyone close to you is moving on.
Evon Sipp-Easterling - Tommy John Surgery especially when Dr. Andrews told him before surgery that Tony had a 50/50 chance to play ball again.
3. What is the best piece of advice you gave your son during his journey to being a pro athlete?
Bernice Doan - That he is not a hockey player but a man who plays hockey for a career.
Melinda Dudley - Stay humble.
Eula Reynolds - To stick with it and have fun, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Evon Sipp-Easterling - When you have a bad day or game remember this: You have your life, health and strength. It's a good day because someone doesn't have those things.
4. What lessons did you learn from your son along the way?
Bernice Doan - Commitment, perseverance, hard work and not forgetting about people all pay off in big dividends no matter what you are doing in life.
Melinda Dudley - He has always gotten it. He passed up a college scholarship to Post Prep, and that was absolutely the right call. He knew when Boston College came for him to accept, and that happened two weeks before school started. He knew he was going to play in the NBA because he wasn't going to take ‘no' for an answer. He's the most focused person I've ever met in my life.
Eula Reynolds - If you want something bad enough, you have to dedicate yourself and stay focused on what's important to you.
I have to admit I am impressed with his ability to stay focused. He comes into a game, with men on base and just does his job, concentrates on the batter and throw strikes. His focus is amazing.
Evon Sipp-Easterling - How to be humble!
5. Can you remember one embarrassing moment your son encountered in his journey to becoming a pro athlete that you could share?
Bernice Doan -
Melinda Dudley - During his junior year, the team barber was cutting a player's hair, and it didn't go well so they decided to shave the player's head. After that, everyone on the team decided to shave their heads as a sign of solidarity. They all were doing this and they got to Jared, and there was no way he was going to do it. Jared had braids at the time and said, "No, I can't do it because of my mom." He put it on me. So during a tournament, they all had shaved heads except him. Jared stood out.
Eula Reynolds - He was booed while pitching in Asheville. That was humbling.
Evon Sipp-Easterling - I really can't remember.
6. What do you think your son would be doing if he wasn't a pro athlete?
Bernice Doan - Actually not sure, other than his interest in horses would probably have him involved with horses.
Melinda Dudley - This is an easy answer because he'll be doing this after (his NBA career). He would've either pursued coaching basketball or commentating.
Eula Reynolds - Wow, that's tough. I have never envisioned him as anything but a baseball player. He would be doing something in sports, maybe broadcasting or coaching.
Evon Sipp-Easterling - Nurse, physical therapy or something in the medical field.
7. What is one thing most people don't know about your son?
Bernice Doan - How much he admires and loves his wife.
Melinda Dudley - He truly has the biggest heart with family and friends.
Eula Reynolds - He is a football nut. He grew up in a suburb west of Chicago. He loves to go to Bears games in the off season. I think that's where he learned how to grill a mean brat.
Evon Sipp-Easterling - He was a praise team dancer at church.
8. What makes you the most proud about your son?
Bernice Doan - His desire to make everyone around him feel like they are the most important people at that moment.
Melinda Dudley - He's a decent, godly man.
Eula Reynolds - He is very caring when it comes to his family and friends. He's genuine in his interest for those around him. Of course I am proud of his professional success, but I am more proud that he's grown up to be such a kind man with such strong connections to his family and friends.
Evon Sipp-Easterling - How he takes care of his daughter, mom (me), and how he gives back to the communities in his hometown.