Sunday, September 30, 2012
the end of an era
I was working for AT&T in 1996 when the world series matched the defending champs, the Atlanta Braves, against the New York Yankees. As a forced transplant I felt like I was living in a foreign country. More than one of my coworkers referred to me as "the Yankee" so it was assumed that I would be rooting for my hometown team.
In fact, as a family, we were not big sports fans at all. I was amazed at the rabid intensity that the locals fans attached to this rivalry and when the Braves lost, how determined they were to support the team in the coming season.
Little by little we started to follow the team and get to know them as, unlike the teams in New York, the players made them selves available to their fans by participating in various community functions and contributing their time and energy to local charities which was unheard of with the celebrities of both the NY teams. They were the A listers who didn't have to wait behind any velvet ropes in Manhattan. Not so the Braves. For the most part, the Braves lived here, they played here and were a part of the community. Jim was doing physical therapy when this tall, scruffy looking dude came in to have his arm worked on. Jim asked me "Do you know who that is?" Blank stare from yours truly."It's John Smoltz". I just wouldn't recognize them in their street clothes.
Game by game I became a fan. Smoltz, Maddux, Glavine, Galarraga and the Jones boys, Andruw and Chipper. After an unheard of nineteen years on the same team, Chipper Jones is retiring this year. Even though the Braves have qualified for post season play, today is his last game of regular season play. And the game is here at Turner field again the arch rival NY Mets..my Dad's team.
I clearly remember the first time we all went to see the team play. We has seats somewhere in the outfield on the third base side. I had brought binoculars and was seeing what I could see when my son Jake said, loudly enough for several rows of other fans to hear, "Mom, stop looking at Chipper's butt!"
Honest, Jake, it never occurred to me!
I just called Dad to remind him to watch the game but they are all piling in the car to visit Mom's grave for the first time...it continues to be a year of great change. the wheel keeps turning.
thanks for all the thrills Chipper.