Magnificent moms Second-generation athletes give credit to all-star parental performances

Kevin Durant said it best when he received the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2013-14 season.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/05/2020 (993 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Kevin Durant said it best when he received the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award for the 2013-14 season.

He was the one on the court scoring more than 30 points per game, but Durant quickly reminded everyone that he didn’t become one of the best basketball players in the world by himself.

“You’re the real MVP,” said an emotional Durant while looking at his mom Wanda.

But Wanda is just one of many moms who deserve an MVP trophy. Mothers and guardians are truly the backbones for all athletes at all levels. All the meals, the rides to practices, the support at games, the excessive amount of laundry, and everything in between, moms are what allow athletes to be great.

So, in honour of Mother’s Day, the Free Press chatted with five local sports moms who are all-stars in their own way.

Jennifer Raposo

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Julianna Raposo (left) and mom Jennifer play women's tackle football together.

Not many people can say they’ve tackled their mother, but Juliana Raposo can.

In fact, the hard-hitting linebacker honed her tackling skills with mom long before they became teammates for the Winnipeg Wolfpack of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League.

“When (Juliana) first started with football, it was winter and we were outside and her dad wanted to show her how to properly tackle. So, I was the tackling dummy and stood there. As she hit me, I ended up with whiplash for two weeks because she hit me so hard,” said Jennifer, who plays running back and now has to try to dodge her daughter’s hits in practice.

Juliana, an 18-year-old who recently graduated from St. James Collegiate, started in the sport a couple years ago with the St. James Rods. Jennifer showed her support by becoming a board member for the club and always had her camera out at games getting pictures of her daughter in action. Last season, Juliana joined the Wolfpack and after seeing how well the team treated her daughter, Jennifer decided she wanted to put down the camera and strap on the pads.

“At first, I laughed because I didn’t think she’d actually go through with it because she has never played football ever,” Juliana said. “My mom is a very gentle person so I laughed it off at first but then it became real and I was like ‘This is actually pretty cool.’”

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Jennifer and Juliana say when they’re on the field, their relationship shifts from being "mother and daughter" to being teammates.

They said when they’re on the field, their relationship shifts from being “mother and daughter” to being teammates. That means when Jennifer has the ball in her hands at practice, Juliana isn’t going to hesitate from stopping mom from making a play.

“I wasn’t comfortable with hitting my mom at first, even though it’s the main concept,” admitted Juliana.

“It was hard to overcome the fact she’s my mom and it was still hard to separate that. But then it finally clicked and I just did what I do to everyone else that I tackle: I look down, make sure they’re OK, then I go back to the huddle.”

“I wasn’t comfortable with hitting my mom at first, even though it’s the main concept.” – Juliana Raposo

Unfortunately, they’ll have to wait a bit longer before they can play some games together as the WWCFL season has been cancelled owing to COVID-19. They’re both incredibly disappointed, but Jennifer, a 38-year-old who works as a customer service manager and runs a photography business on the side called Vintage Sunset Photography, said the time they got to spend together in practice meant a lot to her.

“You get to see them as a person. You learn how to work together better and it makes the relationship stronger. It also allows you to have some goofy moments and you know, you’re not always going to have those friend moments, but it certainly adds a lot to the relationship for sure,” Jennifer said.

“I think any chance a parent can get, whether it’s a sport or something else, to do something with their child, they certainly should.”


Arlyn Filewich

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Arlyn Filewich with her son, Kyler, 18, and daughter, Keylyn, 22, who are both basketball players. Keylyn won Canada West female basketball player of the year and Kyler recently committed to Southern Illinois in basketball.

Arlyn Filewich has a lot to be proud of these days.

Her oldest child, Keylyn, 22, was named the Canada West Women’s Basketball Player of the Year after a stellar season with the UBC Thunderbirds. Her son Kyler, 18, put up big numbers at Orangeville Prep and recently committed to play NCAA Div. I basketball at Southern Illinois University. And last but not least, there’s McKenna, a 16-year-old at Vincent Massey Collegiate who is turning heads while playing volleyball.

“I’m going to try to not get emotional, but as a mom, you raise kids hoping they’re going to be good people and my kids are great people. So to have them not just meet, but exceed all of our expectations in terms of their athletic endeavors as well, it’s so rewarding,” Arlyn said.

Keylyn, Kyler and McKenna have been blessed with some athletic genes as Arlyn played hoops for the Manitoba Bisons from 1988-93 and so did her husband Keon. But when you talk to the kids, they say their success has more to do with how they were raised.

JOHN WOODS / FREE PRESS FILES Kyler Filewich and his Vincent Massey Trojans teammates and coach celebrate defeating St Paul's Crusaders in the Manitoba High School 2019 AAAA Provincial Basketball Championship at the University of Manitoba.

“She coached me in basketball for most of my life, actually. Just being around her on the court, she really taught me a lot of what I know,” said Kyler, a 6-foot-9 big man who also starred at Vincent Massey in football.

“When I played and she coached, we hated to lose. It was even worse because we’d have to talk about it the whole way home about what we could do better. She really made me the competitor I am today and taught me a lot of the skills I use on the basketball court for sure.”

But with the kids in multiple sports, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to kick the feet up and watch TV in the evenings as parent. Arlyn, a former teacher who now works for the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, would race home after school, make sure the kids had something to eat, got them to whatever practice or game they had, then would feed them another meal before bedtime.

“Thankfully, my husband and I have a very strong relationship because we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together. I always say with three kids, you can’t play man-to-man, you have to play zone. So, one of us always had two kids, and the other parent had one,” Arlyn said.

“I always say with three kids, you can’t play man-to-man, you have to play zone. So, one of us always had two kids, and the other parent had one.” – Arlyn Filewich

“We were literally running every evening from four o’clock to probably close to 10 o’clock at night and we did that for a number of years. Things have quieted down quite a bit for us now. The kids are obviously a lot more independent and can drive themselves to workouts and stuff. Now our lives revolve around game nights where we get to live stream their games or head out and watch McKenna play volleyball and it really is the highlight of our week.”

Keylyn, a provincial champion in volleyball, basketball, hockey, swimming and soccer, said growing up in an active family was amazing and she hopes to recreate that with children of her own one day. However, she plans to take a bit of a different approach when it comes to being a spectator.

“Me and Kyler have both had to stop in the middle of basketball games and look at her in the crowd and just give her the signal to be quiet and sit down,” Keylyn said.

“We always envied the kids who had parents that just kind of showed up and were just happy their kids were there. But our mom demanded the best. There were multiple times, and I bet Kyler too, where I wish I could have driven home with another family and talk about something else as opposed to what I could’ve done better in the third quarter.”


Ardith Parker (Lernout)

It’s been over 30 years since Ardith Parker suited up for the Winnipeg Wesmen women’s volleyball team, but it’s almost as if she never left.

That’s because when Ardith heads to the Duckworth Centre to take in a game, her daughter Emma is all over the court making plays and wearing her mom’s No. 9 uniform while doing so.

Supplied Ardith Parker (left) with daughter Emma.

“You never plan for anything like this, but when it works out that way, it does give you a pretty cool feeling when you go there and she’s playing and wearing the Wesmen jersey and wearing my No. 9,” Ardith said.

They share the same number and name, but Emma, 20, is making a name for herself. After finishing the past season with the fifth-most kills in the nation (290), Emma was named the University of Winnipeg’s female athlete of the year.

But the third-year left side hitter from St. Norbert Collegiate would be the first to admit mom left her some big shoes to fill. Ardith was inducted into the Volleyball Manitoba Hall of Fame in 2019 as she was a key piece to the Wesmen’s four national titles and 123-match win streak in the ‘80s.

“Can’t compete with that,” Emma responds after this reporter rattled off her mom’s impressive resume.

But Emma isn’t concerned with competing with mom, although the family does have a beach court in the backyard and they do get some games in as older sisters Sydney, 24, and Kelly, 26, also have volleyball experience. Instead, Emma is focused on taking full advantage of having a national champion and hall of famer for a mom. It also doesn’t hurt that her dad Will is a former basketball star for the Wesmen.

Supplied Ardith during her time with the Wesmen.

“Not only my mom, but both of my parents have helped me with literally everything in life,” Emma said. “For sports, after the game, I always go right up to them and ask what I did wrong. Usually, they’ll tell me something that’s good, then they’ll tell me what I need to work on.”

Ardith didn’t force Emma into volleyball, but she’s happily been there since Day 1 to teach her a thing or two. She coached Emma in high school, but now likes to take a backseat approach and just enjoy the fact her daughter is following in her footsteps on and off the court. Ardith is a phys-ed teacher and Emma is currently in the education program.

“Anytime your children excel at something, you’re pretty proud of them,” Ardith said. “She’s a very hard worker and she’s very focused on what she wants to do and how she wants to do it. So when she achieves those things, you can’t help but feel very, very proud of her.”


Lynn Fallis-Kurz

Like mother, like sons. Lynn Fallis-Kurz boasts one heck of a curling resume, but now that she’s stepped back from the competitive side of the game, she’s able to watch her sons Colin and Kyle have many of the same successes that she had.

Supplied The Kurz family: Colin (left), Lynn and Kyle.

Lynn is a two-time provincial junior champion who also took home the national junior title in 1981. The lead would become a Canadian champion again in 1988 in 1991 when she teamed up with Jeff Stoughton to win the national mixed titles. She also played in the Canadian Scotties in 2002 with Jennifer Jones. 

Kyle, 25, has won Manitoba, Canadian and World junior championships and added a provincial mixed doubles crown to his name last year. Colin, 22, skipped his team to a gold medal at the World Mixed Curling Championships in 2019 and has also won a provincial junior title.

“I just feel happy. I know what I got out of it and just the memories that I have and some of the different friendships and things you can think back to and I’m just happy for them that they’ve had this success,” said Lynn, who has coached both of her sons over the years. “They have these similar memories and experiences.”

The boys fell in love with the game at a young age as they spent most of their winter nights at the Wildewood Curling Club watching their mom play. Colin and Kyle are no longer sitting behind the glass as spectators as they can now relate to many of the things their mom went through in her curling career.

“I think it’s pretty cool not so much winning (similar events), but getting to compare the experiences about what my experience was like at the Canada Games in 2015 and what hers was like years ago. And same with the mixed curling and stuff like that,” said Colin, who plays third for JT Ryan’s team.

“It’s fun to chat about the ways the event is the same and the different ways they have changed and stuff like that. It is really cool to both have won the same events. She has had a very successful career and I think both Kyle and I are trying to pass her in her success, but failing miserably,” he said with a laugh.

Ruth Bonneville / Free Press files Lynn Fallis-Kurz (second from right) with Jennifer Jones (from left), Karen Porritt and Dana Allerton after winning the Scott Tournament of Hearts Provincial Women's Championship in 2002.

Kyle and Colin take pride in understanding the finer points of the sport and they credit their mom for that. Growing up, they’d watch games on TV and they’d dissect the strategy behind certain shots. Kyle, now a third for Braden Calvert’s foursome, said their love for the game grew and grew and their mom had a lot to do with that.

“Basically, growing up we could always count on her. If you ask her a question, you know you’re not going to get an answer that’s completely wrong. Other kids curling at a young age, they might ask their parents things, but they might not know the same amount as our mom does because of her experience. Knowing and trusting what she’s saying helps for sure,” said Kyle.


Carrie Patrick (Chernomaz)

The Patricks are known for their hockey, but don’t forget about the volleyball star in the family.

Carrie Patrick, wife of former NHLer Stephen Patrick and mom to Philadelphia Flyers forward Nolan Patrick, was a star on the hardwood in the early 1990s as she helped the Wesmen volleyball program to four national championship games, winning two of them, and was an All-Canadian.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Carrie Patrick and her daughter Aimee who is a hockey player in their backyard practice space.

But Carrie’s toughest challenge didn’t come on a volleyball court, it came after her career when she became a hockey mom to three kids. Nolan’s older sister Maddie, 24, played for the UBC Thunderbirds and their little sister Aimee, 17, is getting ready to play for the Manitoba Bisons next year.

It wasn’t easy, nor was it cheap having all three kids in hockey, but Carrie is thankful that’s the path they all chose to take.

“It’s given them some good structure in their life and some valuable skills like having that competitive level, being independent, playing on a team and supporting each other, and having nutrition and training schedules. Those are all tools that will help them in the real world,” Carrie said.

While the family has enjoyed many highs, such as Nolan becoming the highest Manitoban ever selected in NHL Draft history when the Flyers took him second overall in 2017, there’s been quite a few challenges along the way.

Nolan, 21, missed the entire 2019-20 season with a migraine disorder. Aimee also had a taste of bad luck two years ago when she tore her ACL in her Grade 10 season at St. Mary’s Academy. While mom might not be the hockey expert in the family, although her brother Rich Chernomaz did play 51 games in the NHL, she knows what it’s like to go through a major setback. Carrie was expected to play for Canada at the 1996 Summer Olympics, but tore her ACL two months before the event while warming up prior to a scrimmage.

“It’s good when it’s good, but when there are injuries, that’s when it’s hard on the parents… But you know, you get through it. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger at the end of the day and there’s always lessons.” Carrie said.

“We’re just trying to stay positive for the kids and there’s never any pressure from us.”

“It’s good when it’s good, but when there are injuries, that’s when it’s hard on the parents… But you know, you get through it. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger at the end of the day and there’s always lessons.” – Carrie Patrick

Aimee said having her mom by her side after her ACL tear was what got her through it.

“There was a lot of therapy and icing. She was always there to help me with that. Right after I got surgery, every two hours I needed icing and all through the night she’d be up helping me out. It was a really stressful time. But she helped me not look at the downside of it and instead focus on the benefits of strengthening, physio and the positivity and confidence it would bring me later in my hockey career,” said Aimee, who bounced back and led St. Mary’s in scoring this season.

Hopefully, injuries are a thing of the past for the Patrick family. With the NHL season up in the air owing to COVID-19, Nolan has returned home. Carrie’s career is also in flux at the moment, as her beauty salon, The Beauty Theory, is waiting for the thumbs up from the government to open again. But not even a pandemic can get in Carrie’s way when it comes to finding the positives, as this year’s Mother’s Day will have a extra special meaning to her.

“The silver lining is I have all my family home. It’s been six years since I’ve had all the kids home in the same place. That’s been really nice and we eat all our meals together.”

Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...


Updated on Friday, May 8, 2020 8:12 PM CDT: corrects info about Lynn Fallis-Kurz's career

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