It’s been a decade since we saw visual evidence that no one is more on the ball than a multitasking mom.
In May 2011, Tiffany Goodwin went viral, thanks to a photo that captured her catching a foul ball at a minor league baseball game while she held her son.
The picture summed up motherhood: Goodwin, with her 8-month-old son Jerry in her right arm, stretches to catch the ball in her glove in her left hand while she and her family watch a Richmond Flying Squirrels game in Richmond, Virginia.
“I was flabbergasted. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised,” Goodwin told TODAY about the picture going viral.
At the time, Goodwin, who is now divorced and lives with her kids in Rosamond, California, near Edwards Air Force Base, was living with her family in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In the photo, she’s surrounded by her then husband, as well as their two daughters, Elizabeth, now 17, and Katherine, now 13. She believes the photo connected so strongly because people may be more accustomed to dads going for foul balls.
“I think that just it makes a difference, because you see the mom there holding the kid with the other kids grabbing onto her leg as she’s reaching for the ball,” she said. “And at the time from the husband who’s trying to catch it … so I think that just the whole family dynamic, I think resonates with others, because it’s something that can be done. It’s something that can be achieved.”
Another focus of the photo was that Jerry wore a cranial helmet, used to shift his skull plates so his brain could grow. Goodwin said the helmet in the photo turned out to be a very good thing.
“I was really glad that that picture was taken with him wearing his helmet because it really brought awareness to cranial helmets,” she said. “And a lot of people had no idea. There was a big backlash that I received because they thought I was putting a helmet on a kid to sit there and catch foul balls, not realizing it was actually to help shape his skull plates.”
Goodwin, who says her now ex-husband has the ball, said the helmet served its purpose and Jerry is perfectly healthy.
“He is a typical, rambunctious, free-spirited, 10-year-old boy,” she said.
Goodwin says no one ever reached out to her about speaking out on behalf of helmets, but the picture was used by the company that made Jerry’s helmet in a calendar and the Flying Squirrels featured it on the back of game programs for a period of time.
Goodwin said while the response was mostly positive, she had to learn to brush off the negative comments.
“You just have to have a thick skin and like what I tell the kids is you’re a duck and the water rolls off of you,” she said. “Just know who you are and what you can do. And if sometimes you need to educate someone, we can do that.”
The Goodwins remain fans of baseball and her older daughter, who is a junior in high school, has even committed to play softball in college at Minnesota State University Morehead. The photo continues to be a topic of discussion in what Goodwin refers to her “softball circles.”
“We have a picture of it framed in the hallway, and the stairwell. And so they talk about it sometimes,” she said. “And then kids will come up and ask if I still have the glove, and they’ll ask if they can see it, or hold it. So it’s really cute.”
And what does Jerry think about the picture?
“He just says, ‘Yep, that’s my mom. She can do it all,’” Goodwin said.
Drew Weisholtz is a reporter for TODAY Digital, focusing on pop culture, nostalgia and trending stories. He has seen every episode of “Saved by the Bell” at least 50 times, longs to perfect the crane kick from “The Karate Kid” and performs stand-up comedy, while also cheering on the New York Yankees and New York Giants. A graduate of Rutgers University, he is the married father of two kids who believe he is ridiculous.
© 2021 NBC UNIVERSAL