May 18th, 2012

Hyland's Heroes: Susan Higdon

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer


Hyland's Heroes: Susan Higdon
photo from Sue Higdon

"Team Mom" supports mission of schools, teams

The following feature is a part of a weekly series, sponsored by Hyland, Block & Hyland, called "Hyland's Heroes" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports. Know someone that you think should be featured as the next "Hyland's Hero”? Send your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

This week’s Hyland’s Heroes feature addresses the prototypical sports mom. You know, that mom who works full time, never misses a game her children play and volunteers to help whenever she can. And in this case, it’s not only the mom who’s deeply involved, it’s both parents.

There are hundreds of coaches that give tirelessly of their time, talent and treasure to work with the young student athletes in the CSAA. But there are at least 10 times that many parents who give support to their children’s teams by way of working the concession stands and ticket takers and booster club functions and church picnics. The general “team mom” types of things.

Susan Higdon fits that profile to perfection. She and her husband Roger have been married for 22 years and have raised three boys who have gone or are attending the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel/St. Nicholas Academy grade school. All three boys have or will go on to graduate from DeSales High School.

Jason is in the 4th grade at St. Nicholas Academy and plays football, basketball and runs track. Travis is a sophomore at DeSales and plays soccer there. He was featured on the DeSales promotional billboard that you may have seen when driving down the Watterson Expressway. Oldest son Derek just completed his freshman year at Western Kentucky University and played basketball and soccer at DeSales.

A full time mom, a full time employee and a full time volunteer. To say she lives a full throttle life is an understatement.

“I try not to miss any of their games,” Higdon said with a chuckle. “I’ve been known to watch half of one game in one gym and the rest of another of the kid’s games at another. But I love seeing them play and try to support them and their teams as much as I can.”

She’s not alone in this sports-crazed family. Husband Roger coaches basketball and assists with the football team at St. Nicholas. Between the two of them, they attend about 200 games a year. Not to mention the practices and other events surrounding the boys’ teams at St. Nicholas and DeSales.

“I’ll volunteer at the concession stand, take tickets, do whatever is needed,” she said. “I like to be involved as much as I can because it helps to get to know the other parents, the coaches and the kids’ teachers. I was the team mom for the 3rd/4th grade football team at St. Nicholas this past year, just giving him as much support as I could.”

As a legal assistant at a local law firm, Higdon works tirelessly to maintain a presence in her children’s lives. Like so many other parents, supporting her kid’s endeavors is priority number one with her.

“I’m a firm believer that academics come first, but I also want my kids involved in sports for the physical and social benefits of it,” she said. “Sometimes they win. Sometimes they lose. But they always make good friends and have a lot of good memories from it.”

Coming from a sporting family herself, Susan started all of her kids early with sports. Her brother played sports at DeSales and she had two older sisters graduate ahead of her at Holy Rosary Academy. In her youth, she played volleyball, basketball, softball and track at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. But in high school she concentrated on one thing: cheerleading for DeSales.

It comes as no surprise that that cheerleader is alive and well and thriving as head cheerleader for her boys today.

“My boys grew up in gyms and on the ball fields around town,” she said. She recalls taking her youngest, Jason, to her older son’s games in Lexington when Jason was just eight weeks old. “My two older boys have a lot of friends and Jason grew up as the ‘little brother’ to all of them. He was around every sport that the older boys played. I really give credit to our Catholic schools for that type attention those older kids gave to Jason. Those older kids are always asking about their ‘little brother’ and that’s where Catholic sports have brought them together.”

With her involvement in the school, she’ll have had a child at DeSales from 2007 through 2020, Higdon plans on continuing her volunteering and cheering for her kids and their teammates.

“It’s the personal touch that the Catholic schools give that makes it special,” she stated. “The schools and the CSAA have given so many opportunities to our kids. I like the friendships and the relationships among the staff and the families. That keeps me involved with the educational aspect as well as the sports teams.”

As if she didn’t have enough jobs, she serves as Treasurer of the Parent Volunteer Organization at St. Nicholas Academy and works as a communication liaison between the school and the church. She’s also in charge of membership for The Fillies Club at DeSales.

“I want my kids to know that I will always be there for them,” she explained. “The friendships that I’ve made through volunteering are unbelievable. If I wasn’t involved, I wouldn’t know the people who teach, coach and support my children and their friends and teammates. And I love the relationships I’ve built with the faculties at both schools.

It is the tireless efforts from parents like Susan and Roger Higdon, in support of the missions of their Catholic schools and the CSAA, which make lasting memories for student athletes.

 

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