The presence of Cindy Murray, ever-smiling, bright-eyed beauty from Parsons, won’t just be felt during Lawrence High football Friday nights this season, it will be seen.
The Lions will wear a “CM” decal on their helmets to celebrate such a warm and giving life, which ended one week ago today at home, a life so beautifully remembered Thursday afternoon at First Presbyterian Church.
An obstetrical nurse at Lawrence Memorial Hospital from 1976 to 1986 and school nurse at Lawrence High (1989 to 2009), Cindy didn’t stop acting as mother to LHS athletes after volleyball star daughter Anne (last name now Emert) became a student-athlete at Dartmouth, and her football star son, Tom Jr., studied at and played football for Princeton University.
Tom, Cindy’s husband of 41 years, long has been considered the No. 1 fan of LHS football. His vocal and emotional support of the Lions has been loud, his considerable financial support silent, private.
Guys like Tom Murray, who have such unbridled passion for high school football, mean a lot to communities our size. He would rather discuss the toughness of an undersized Lions lineman than solutions to particularly vexing legal issues.
Friends say Murray was touched by close friend and LHS football coach Dirk Wedd’s decal gesture. Murray’s children, who painted such beautiful pictures of their mother at the service, will do all they can to help their father negotiate his way through life without his perfectly matched co-pilot. They got off to a nice start by sharing memories of their mom with an audience so large that cars lined every nearby street, snaking up and down hills.
Anne shared that 10 years after she had commented to her mother the splendor of the tuna sandwich she was eating at an off-the-beaten-path deli in New Haven, Conn., her mother, at the completion of a Dartmouth road volleyball match at Yale, held up something in her hand and waved it, beckoning her daughter. Cindy had left the gymnasium, trudged through the snow and found the very same sandwich at the very same deli.
Anne said that Cindy wrote a letter to her “every single day” during her time at Dartmouth. Soon, Anne shared, all of her friends were receiving letters from their mothers “every single day.”
A mother’s reach is longer than any 7-footer’s. Back when LHS had Tongan imports on the roster, coaches and fathers discussed what the behemoths needed in terms of academic support, weight training, football technique, etc.
Mothers knew better than all of them what those boys needed most. They needed a mother, so Cindy filled that role for a couple of them.
The CM decal stands for Cindy Murray and also could symbolize what every football team, no matter how macho, needs: Caring Mothers.