I remember my first Braves game like it was yesterday. It wasn’t.
The year was 1996. I was in the sixth grade and my parents had just moved my sisters and me off the mission field in Brazil to Roswell, GA. I had been obsessed with collecting baseball cards for a while (Brazil didn’t even have baseball, by the way) and my dad wanted me to have as many American experiences as possible – in his way of trying to acclimate my sister and me to life in the USA.
We’d done the glass bottom boats thing in Florida, we’d seen a couple of caves, and we’d spent about six months in small town America where my mom’s parents lived, trying to decide where we’d go next.
We ended up in Atlanta, and one day my dad ended up with tickets to the game.
We got to the ballpark and got our hot dogs and sodas. I watched people file into their seats, their excitement written all over their faces.
I watched Chipper Jones step up to the plate and the crowd go insane.
I watched Chipper’s bat shatter into pieces as he hit that ball.
I experienced a home run for the first time.
It was glorious.
I love baseball. I love the whole ballpark experience. I love to watch people file into their seats excitedly, I get really stressed out when the bases are loaded, and everyone is waiting for that awesomeness to happen. I love a home run. I love what baseball does – it brings people together, in one place, for the purpose of cheering on our team as they play the quintessential game of all our childhoods, in some way.
These are the things that make baseball such an important part of life in these United States. The anticipation greatness brings us to one place, to be together for a few hours. The excitement of a home run unites us in cheerful joy as we celebrate together, with the total strangers around us because our team has made it happen.
Last night, Chipper Jones’ jersey was retired.
My sister, brother-in-law, his parents and I arrived at the ballpark and got our refreshments.
We filed into our seats, full of excitement, watching others do the same.
We watched Chipper Jones ride around the field and the crowd go insane.
We experienced three home runs.
It was glorious.