Dear Win WIN!
So……….. if you did not already know, I have an unhealthy obsession with the Atlanta Braves. The order of my greatest loves are as follows:
- My wife, your mom, rockstar artist, and hot mamma; Samantha Jo Lemon
- Winslow Payton Lemon (That’s YOU!)
- Family (Too many to name)
- The Atlanta Braves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Writing and other creative ventures
- Reading books
Why am I even talking about this with you?? Because you will be forced to enjoy the Atlanta Braves with me from time to time in your life. If I am lucky, I will succeed in brainwashing you to LOVE the Braves.
I can’t wait to take you to your first game. I can’t wait to see you in little Braves gear, eating a cotton candy or snacking on some peanuts and crackerjacks. I’ll even put some eye black on your cheeks if you will let me. Then we will go “root, root, root for the HOME team.”
I have loved the Atlanta Braves since I was 7 or 8, I can’t remember exactly.
Why the Braves?
There are a few reasons.
First, my dad has been a Braves fan his entire life. He went to Georgia Tech, in Atlanta and watched some awful 80’s teams play. He and his buddies would sit in the cheap seats. He went to games with his dad from time to time, too.
Secondly, the Braves are the south’s team of choice. From 1966 to 1997, there was no other teams for the southeastern states in America to choose from. People in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina all seemed to root for the Braves.
Thirdly, when I was a kid, the Braves were on TV for every game, because a rich man named Ted Turner owned the Braves and a bunch of TV stations.
Even though most of the games were on past my bedtime, my favorite thing to do each night was to sneak to a certain spot and watch them secretly. My dad would be downstairs with the braves playing on TV, and he’d be reading, or cross wording, or some other brain stimulating activity, because he doesn’t know how to watch TV like a normal person… he always has to be multi-tasking and half listening.
When I was supposed to be asleep I would sneak quietly to the banister and lay down, which allowed me to see most of the downstairs TV. I would watch every time he had them on. It was hard though, because I had to keep from yelling my excitement when they would score a run, as to not get caught out of bed. I was a fanatic for the braves, also known as, a FAN!
Growing up I tried playing third base because my hero Chipper Jones played third base. My dad even called me “Chippa” when I played third. I would beam with a smile ear to ear.
Baseball has a romance about it, with history flowing through the veins as “America’s Past Time.” The game has changed very little over the last 130 years or so, and so it is easy to think about the past era’s and imagine being there.
I had the good fortune of growing up when the Braves were amazingly good, from 1991-2005, they won their division every year.
It was not always good to be a Braves fan, because they only won 1 world series in that time… just 1…
Yet, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on that night in 1995. My family and I were in a hotel room in Austin Texas, because my mom had some work conference something or another. I am sure the whole family was in that little hotel room, but I only remember myself. I was jittery and could not sit still until that final out was caught and the team ambushed each other in their celebratory hug, jumping up and down with ecstatic glee! I wanted to jump with them, and I did, around the hotel room like a little maniac.
I’ve been to as many games as I could afford or talk my dad into. Me and my dad saw them play multiple times at the Astrodome (the 8th wonder of the world), but I would always get mad at him for leaving early in his attempt to beat traffic. I never wanted to miss one pitch, whether we were killing the Astro’s or getting beat.
Later I would drive to Houston and watch them at minute-made park. I even got a ball tossed to me from a relief pitcher while I was watching the braves warm up in batting practice. I’ve owned more than 20 braves hats in my life, a Chipper Jones authentic jersey, and your mom got me a Freddie Freeman jersey that cost an arm and a leg. Your Aunt Tabba and Uncle Larry even got me a personalized braves t-shirt with “Lemon” on the back.
I love the braves!
I could also name about 200 players that have played for the braves over the last 25 years, because I am crazy like that…
The point is, I love the braves a lot!
Yet, I love three things more than the braves. God, your mom, and you. That will always be the case and I hope that you never forget it.
I cannot wait to see you in your braves gear, cheering for your dad’s team. It’s something that has excited me since you were born. I hope you enjoy it too, because you’re going to a game with me whether you like it or not! I love you sweetheart.