…so much more than a game…

When reflecting upon this season in Atlanta baseball, many muddled thoughts and emotions fill my psyche as I attempt to put words to them.  I could rant about how the Braves COULD have, SHOULD have performed better…about how a single man’s mistake cost us a bid to the NLCS…how I wish the team had not hit a slump just before the postseason began…

…but to me, the end of this season is much more deep-rooted than stats and wins v. losses…

…to me, it’s an end of an era that marks a major turning point in my life.

In January of 1991, my family made the move down to Atlanta, GA from a suburb outside of Philadelphia (and for those wondering, I was only a nominal Phillies fan…I didn’t follow sports whatsoever back in those days).  The first almost-eleven years of my life had been marked with a lot of transitions and moves that left me feeling like I had no roots to any one place to be able to call the city my home.  From Daejon, South Korea, to New York, New York, to Philadelphia, PA…they were all just places I had passed by in the first decade of my life.  Atlanta was no different in the beginning.  Feeling completely out of place in a new region of the United States, I had a very difficult time creating ties to this new city.  I didn’t think I would ever fit in nor think of this city as home.

…then…I came across a team that was making a run from being the worst to the first…

Granted, I didn’t even know who the Braves were until we began watching the postseason games in school that year.  You could have very well called me a fair weather fan, since all I was doing in the beginning was riding the emotional wave of victory that lay in the wake of triumph after triumph.  However, for the first time, my interest in the sport itself was piqued.  I began recognizing names with faces…and through the next few years, as we began winning the NLCS (only to lose in the World Series the first part of the 90’s), I began understanding just how amazing the game and the team was.

…one of the best pitching rotations in baseball history, a legendary manager, and players creating memorable moments that would be ingrained in the heart of the city forever and ever…

It was exciting to watch the team win.  It was emotional to watch them lose.  And it was pure euphoria watching the 1995 World Series as the Braves FINALLY became champions in Major League Baseball.  And since that moment, I made the Braves MY team…and would forever be MY team.  Through the next two decades, cheering on the Braves would solidify my love for the game and my love for the city.  The Atlanta Braves became more than my baseball team.  The Atlanta Braves became what made Atlanta HOME for me.  Despite the fact I was born in a foreign nation and spent a good chunk of my childhood in the northeast, I will forever and always be a southern girl because of the team than made this city my hometown.

And now, as 2011 will bring on a new season in Braves baseball, it coincidentally marks a new season in my life as well…preparing to, once again, move onto new surroundings as I follow my husband to wherever his profession leads.  However, there is one difference in this upcoming move…

…I now have a city to call home…and I have a team that will always make this city my home…

Home is where the heart is…and my heart will always be in Atlanta, Georgia…and my team loyalty will always and forever be to my Atlanta Braves.

Here’s to you, Bravos!  Waiting for another wonderful season to come!!  I’ll be watching (and engaging in some not-so-PC chanting) from wherever life takes me!!

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