On Monday, Nick Sundberg tweeted a picture of himself hugging his mother with this happy message:
“Best part of every game is giving mom a hug after the pre-game warm up!”
That pregame embrace is something that Sundberg has come to rely on throughout his career.
“My mom’s my biggest supporter,” Sundberg told me. “She came to 51 out of 52 games in college. The only one she missed was at Washington when it was sleeting and snowing and she was sick, so I told her not to come. She’s missed maybe seven games since I’ve been here. I won’t let her go to Philly anymore, and New York late is a rough one for her. But she comes to every other game.”
Each week, Stacie Sundberg travels from Phoenix to cheer on her son. Whether home or away, she makes sure she’s in the same spot in the stands before every game, so that he can find her for their weekly ritual.
“It’s just nice to know that wherever we go to play,” the Redskins’ long snapper said. “I can look up in the stands and know that she’s there to support me.”
A hug from his mom isn’t the only thing Sundberg looks forward to on Sundays. Stacie sends her son a text message every game day to give him a boost in confidence before hitting the field.
“They’re very motivational,” he said of the texts. “[She texts] ‘You’re the best at what you do. Have faith in your abilities. Thank god for blessing you to be in the situation that you’re in. Look around and remember to have fun, because you’ve got the greatest job in the world. But you’ve earned it. Stay true to what you do. You’re work ethic is what got you here. Don’t shy away from that. I love you. I can’t wait to see you out there.’ Things like that.”
It started as a sweet, motherly gesture, but Sundberg admitted it has now become a necessary part of his game-day activities.
“She didn’t come to the Monday night game,” he told me. “I called her day of and said ‘Hey, don’t forget to text me.’ It’s extremely important to me. I would say it’s 100-percent superstition at this point.”
I think it’s a ritual we can all get behind.