My father was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1951, and he has been a fan of the Braves since their relocation to Milwaukee in 1953. The Braves catcher, Walker Cooper, moved in next door to my father in 1952, and that was the spark needed for him become an avid fan. Later he moved to southern California with his family, and my grandfather had season tickers to the LA Dodgers, each time they would play the Braves my grandfather would make a point to take my father with. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard about how Hank Aaron and Warren Spahn were his heroes back in the 60's and 70's, and about the action figures of team members he should have kept.
Those memories were far before my time, but by the time I was born in 1992, the tradition of cheering for the Braves was instilled deeply in my family dynamic. After decades of being a devoted fan, my father finally had his children’s young minds to mold. By the time I was born my two older brothers had nearly a hundred Braves baseball cards, and a closet full of Braves memorabilia. My mother sent my father and his close friend to the World Series in 1992, when I was just a few months old. At some point after his trip my father decided on a tradition he wanted to keep. Every time the Braves go into the World Series, he will take one of his kids to a series game in Atlanta, in order of birth. Luckily for my oldest brother, the Braves were having a successful season, not even four years later in 1996, and he was the first to get to go to a Series game. Then, two years later my middle brother and my father packed their bags and went to Atlanta in anticipation of the Braves getting in to the World Series in 1998, unfortunately they lost in the Division Championship. It’s still up for debate between my brother and I whether that trip counted, but I like to think that it is my turn to see the Braves in all their glory.
To this day my father does not miss an Atlanta Braves game, even I, his only daughter cannot draw his attention away from a game. I was witness to this visiting from college this past weekend, but who am I to stand in the way of a tradition that has been around for 60 years?
As a surprise for his 61st birthday, and Father’s Day, (they happen to fall on the same day this year) I am entering this contest in hopes to get my father a collectable Braves Camp Shirt, and maybe a chance to surpass my brother in rank for the next World Series trip. Fingers crossed for a good outcome in both. Go Braves!