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Leah Morris serves as 'over-the-top' support for daughter

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Part two in a four-part series on some of Hardin County high school sports moms

By Robert Villanueva

Leah Morris is not content simply to cheer on her daughter, Kimberly, from the sidelines at Elizabethtown High School volleyball games.

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Throughout her daughter’s involvement in the sport, Morris has been a line judge, locker decorator, concession stand worker and treasurer for the Rapid Fire Volleyball Club based in Bardstown. She also helps coordinate homecoming activities.

“I’m kind of one of those over-the-top volleyball moms,” Morris said.

In fact, Morris is so dedicated to supporting her daughter she does everything she can to be at each game.

“I typically try to schedule all my travel around her game schedule,” she said.

Last year Morris, who is a safety and risk manager for Zappos, managed to schedule about nine out-of-state job-related commitments around her daughter’s volleyball games, missing maybe one game, she said.

The mother and daughter even have a special way of communicating during games.

“Kimberly and I have this understanding of sign language,” Morris said.

The special sign language allows Morris to express ideas such as encouraging her daughter to stay positive and getting the team motivated.

A home game at the end of September found Morris off to the side, manning the scoreboard of the junior varsity games. Kimberly, a varsity player, was  sitting with friends.

Between games, Kimberly strolled over to where her mom sat, and Morris offered her daughter a choice of two sports drinks, one chartreuse, the other red. Kimberly chose the red one and smiled.

“Thanks, Mom,” she said, softly.

After the JV games are over, Morris finished her scorekeeping duty and moved to the bleachers, ready to watch her daughter play. She was one of three or four parents who stood up and applauded at the announcement of their child’s name.

Morris let out whoops and hollered during the game. After the first game, she crossed the gymnasium floor and tossed the other sports drink to her daughter.

Other than her coach and teammates, Kimberly considers her mother a major source of support, doing anything she can to help.

“She’s one of the most important people and most supportive, and I really appreciate it,” Kimberly said.

Since sixth grade, when Kimberly began playing, Morris has supported her daughter by doing such things as working as a line judge at games. One of her ways of showing support for her daughter’s high school team included making encouraging locker decorations for all 25 team members.

Morris feels Kimberly has benefitted from her involvement in volleyball beyond the physical aspects.

“They say the more activities you can have your kids in, the less time they have to get in trouble,” Morris said.

With this year being her daughter’s senior year the time is bittersweet, Morris said. Her daughter plans to go into the medical field in college.

“I’m proud of the person she’s become,” Morris said.

The sports mom has enjoyed her time supporting her daughter and doesn’t pinpoint a specific high point.

“Any game that they win, any tournament they win, is a high point for me,” she said.

Morris realizes she has invested a lot of time with her daughter’s athletics and could have pursued other interests instead.

“But I wouldn’t change it,” she said.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.

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