Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.
How does that make you feel?
Today’s twist: While writing this post, focus again on your own voice. Pay attention to your word choice, tone, and rhythm. Read each sentence aloud multiple times, making edits as you read through. Before you hit “Publish,” read your entire piece out loud to ensure it sounds like you.
For me, the Atlanta Braves have always meant summer. Every year between April and October, my family and I have always made a point of catching a few games at the ballpark, watching from home or listening on the radio when we can’t be there in person. Since the late-1990’s, we’ve been disappointed every October, the team seems to only get so far before the inevitable collapse, never quite recapturing the glory of the early ’90’s. But, the loyal few among us, the Atlanta natives, never lose faith, returning every year to support our boys of summer.
As kids, we went to Atlanta Fulton County stadium, which was torn down in the late ’90’s. I had seen the games on television before, but I’ll never forget my first time walking out of the tunnel into the blinding sunshine and seeing that bright emerald green field, almost too real and spectacular for my little eyes to take in, so close it seemed I could touch it. Those were the days of Dale Murphy, the only player whose name I knew at my young age. That first game, with my family and a big group of my childhood friends, that’s when I fell in love with baseball.
Now we go to Turner Field, which is, at least in my eyes, a beautiful state of the art ballpark where there’s no such thing as a bad seat. There’s nothing like watching a game under the bright lights in the early evening on a clear night, singing along to the Tomahawk Chop, tens of thousands of arms chopping the air in unison. I love the terrific crack of the bat hitting the ball in that perfect sweet spot, when you know even before the ball sails into the air and out of the park that it’s a home-run, the feeling of elation as we all rise to our feet, raise our arms in the air and jump up and down like excited children. It’s the best natural high.
But now, the Braves are leaving Atlanta, moving to Cobb County, a snooty suburb north of town. The move is not without controversy. I’ll spare you the details. By 2017, my beautiful Turner Field will be torn down. All who support the move say the team will be the same, only the location is changing, but I’m not sure I agree. It almost feels as though they won’t be my Braves anymore. They’re moving away from my city, the place where I fell in love with them. Maybe I’ll make the trek to Cobb after the move, at least once per year, maybe I won’t. Who am I kidding, I probably will. I won’t want my future children to miss out on the surreal, magical experience I had at my first game. Even though I’ll always be disappointed about the move, one day I know that I’ll look down at my children and see the wonder on their faces and I’ll feel such joy and satisfaction, sharing my love of the Braves with them. But I’ll always know that they don’t really belong to me anymore. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy these last few precious summers while they’re still my Braves.