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My mother, like many mothers, is the strongest person I know. Not only did she raise six children, all of whom played sports, she worked hard to raise us and somehow managed to stay actively involved. Not only by showing up but by finding ways to create initiatives to further our team’s success while supporting our efforts, she was the first to do many things, from competing on a world-class level as a teenager to being a leader in advancing women’s soccer in northeast Ohio. On top of all of that, she has managed to lead many philanthropic efforts throughout her life. She continues to do so, sitting on the board for local high schools and leading financial development efforts with many projects in the city. 

To know my mom is to see a person who is both the kindest of the kind with a hint of a drill instructor. She instilled hard work, respect, and integrity coupled with a light-hearted spirit and enjoyment in the moment that is found through hours of hard work in a labor of something you love. I am assuming that this started in the pool for my mom. Her work ethic and discipline came from her hours in the pool. As a teenager, she was a member of the National Champion Synchronized swimming team, spending countless hours meticulously refining the detailed aspects of their routines while also working to build the stamina and strength to make such a demanding sport seem so easy. Had synchronized swimming been an Olympic Sport, she would have most likely been an Olympian! 

Fast-forward years, when my twin sisters wanted to play soccer, but there were no women’s programs in the area. So, they played with the boys growing up. When my sisters got to high school, my mom worked with the administration at Magnificat High School to help create the women’s soccer program there. As a result of her efforts, the bleachers at Magnificat were named in her honor (along with many other schools in NEO). 

At the same time, she was making sure my brother and I were making it to soccer, football, basketball, track, and baseball practices. I didn’t realize it then, but as a parent of four now, I don’t know how it was even possible, yet she made it happen. At one point, I had broken my ankle, and when it healed, she had learned (by going to the library and reading athletic training books) to tape my ankle for me. She would sit me in her station wagon at Bohlkin Park in Fairview Park and tape me between football and soccer practice every day!   

However, the most influential thing my mother did in terms of my becoming a fitness professional was when she became the Conditioning Coach for the Fairview Park Travel Soccer program.  She got her certification in nautilus and, again, went to the library to learn about the latest conditioning and training trends of the mid to late 80s, imparting that wisdom on us young men and taking us through countless hours of butt kicks, high knees, and other conditioning drills. And although she was Coach Rini on the field, tough and fair, she was mom as soon as we got back in the car.  

Carol Rini is the reason I am a Fitness Professional and Coach today. Exposure to her as a mom and coach at a young, impressionable age made me appreciate what the human body is capable of when coupled with the right person guiding the process. Gaining a genuine appreciation for what it means to give and care with sincerity and selflessness that only a mother can.    

So, to all moms out there—keep doing what you are doing. You have no idea what impact it will have down the road. Happy Mother’s Day! 


Yours In Fitness,

Thomas M. Rini, MEd.

CSCS | CFL3 | Fitness Specialist | Biomechanics Specialist | USAWL1 

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Owner/Head Coach – Black Flag Athletics