“Whenever things have got tough, my mother has always been behind me, no matter what,” said Austin Civita, who quarterbacked Canyon High to a Southern Section Div. II championship in December. “She was always there even before the season started at every passing-league game, taking stats. All summer long, she’d tell me the truth, good or bad, and tell me if she thought I needed to work harder.” Civita’s mother, Joey, often went above and beyond the call of duty. On Thursdays before every game, she’d cook massive platters of food to serve dinner for Canyon’s linemen – a subtle reminder not just to eat well and be healthy, but perhaps to give an extra effort to protect her precious son from oncoming tacklers the following night. “Actually, she wouldn’t just cook all the food. She’d also serve the dinner and do all the cleanup, too,” Austin said. “She always has wanted to invite more and more players and make the dinners bigger and bigger. Now she even wants to make a reunion dinner.” Alyssa Ishibashi, a shortstop on Valencia High’s softball team that is ranked No. 1 by the Daily News, has done all she can to follow in the footsteps of her mother, Debbie Brozovich, a former top prep athlete at West High in Torrance. “In high school, my mom was the captain of the volleyball team and the first freshman to make the varsity softball team,” Ishibashi said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without her. She used to practice out in the street with me if I didn’t want to by having me throw into a circle. If I didn’t do it 25 times, she wouldn’t let me back in the house – and now I appreciate it.” Valencia baseball coach Jared Snyder, who’s among the area’s most successful coaches in any sport, knows full well his teams wouldn’t have won as many games over the years without the support of so many great moms. “They have a big influence,” Snyder said. “They’re the nurturing part of the kids, the ones who really look out for the interests of their children. I think kids would be lost without the support of their mothers, especially at this level and especially boys. Let’s face it: We’re all momma’s boys at heart.” So here’s to you, moms. Our greatest fans, our most understanding and compassionate supporters and the universal dispensers of unconditional love. Our legs run to win races. Our arms throw footballs to score touchdowns. Our eyes focus on basketball hoops to score points. Our heads knock soccer balls into a net to score goals. But our hearts beat for you. [email protected] (661) 257-5218160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsThey’re there to drive us and pick us up from soccer practice every day. And they’re there to buy us a hot fudge sundae after scoring the first goal of our lives. They give us a soft place to fall when we don’t make the final cut when rosters are posted, and they’re there to encourage us not to give up when we don’t make the cheerleading squad. They’re there to host parties for our whole team to celebrate the end of the season – whether we’ve won every game or, as usually is the case, not been so fortunate. They’re our mothers, the lifeblood of youth sports, and today we salute them on Mother’s Day. Such overdue recognition seems more than fair considering so many of our sacrificing mothers make every other day of the year feel like our day. They’re there for us from the first instant of life. They feed us, warm us with their embrace and provide total security with a simple hug when we need it the most – and not just as infants or toddlers or children or teenagers or college students or adults or even in our golden years. They’re there for us at our first Little League tryout. They’re there to console us and wipe away our tears after our first strikeout – with the bases loaded and the tying run on third. They’re also the first one to jump up and down to cheer our first home run.