Mother and Son

As the Mountaineer football team streamed down the field to engulf wide receiver Chris Henry after his game-winning touchdown reception against Maryland, one figure clad in white was also fighting to get to player that everyone around the Mountaineer program refers to as "Slim".

That wasn't one of the enemy Maryland Terrapins clad in visiting white, however. It was Henry's mother, Carolyn Lee, who had made her first trip to Morgantown to see her son in action.

Lee, who was delayed getting to West Virginia due to the remnants of Hurricane Ivan, didn't get the chance to see Chris on Friday night, but she did get to talk to him briefly.

"During that conversation he said ‘Mama, I'm going to catch one ball just for you,'" an ecstatic Lee said after WVU's 19-16 win. "Then, when we did get to see him on Saturday morning, he said when he caught a touchdown ball he was going to throw it to me. I told him, ‘O.K, you get it to me.'"

Of course, many such promises are often made to family members, but it's not often when it comes true. Rarer still are the times when it's a game-winning catch over a rival in front of a packed house. However, that's just what the ultra-talented Henry did. After making the catch, the Belle Chasse, La. Native apparently forgot the second half of his promise, as he heaved the ball to the heavens.

"He made that touchdown , but I couldn't get to him to get it," Lee said. "He was so excited, he just threw it up in the air, and I couldn't get it. I didn't know where it went, but I was so excited too."

All was forgiven as soon as Lee fought her way through the mob to find her son. And with a line no scriptwriter could match, Henry greeted his mother thusly: 'Mama, I love you, and that touchdown was for you.'

No wonder Lee was still beaming with pride after the players had departed for the locker room. The relationship between she and Henry is clearly a close one, and to have her son think of those things during one of the most exciting moments of his young life had to be thrilling.

"He has been looking forward so much to this game," Lee related. "This game was his."

Henry also honored his mother by writing her name on his wristbands. Since she didn't get a chance at the ball, Lee wanted to those accessories, and said recovering them would be first on her list when she saw him again after the game.

The fairy tale ending didn't seem to be destined to occur, as the 6-5 junior had earlier failed to come up with a couple of passes that he usually snares. However, as Lee notes, those types of things don't faze her son.

"With Chris, you can't focus on him thinking he's going to catch the ball. His attitude is the same on every play. If he drops one, it doesn't bother him the next time. He's always the same."

That attitude paid off, as last year's Big East Rookie of the Year came up with big catches in the fourth quarter and overtime to help the Mountaineers get the come-from-behind win. And it's a genuine one, born of his inherent shyness.

Many people are quick to criticize Henry, who rarely speaks with the media (he did offer a few comments after the Maryland game). Those knee-jerk fans believe that Henry suffers from an overdose of ego. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

"He is just a shy guy," Lee said of Henry. "He's always been like that. Sometimes he's even that way with me. He's shy and quiet, but he's a really good guy. I just want people to know that – he is just a good guy."


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