My Dad and I recently made a trip down to Orlando for Braves spring training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. It has been a bucket list item for both of us, so needless to say it was pretty exciting. Not only have the Braves kept my Dad and I close, but also one player in particular, Chipper Jones.
You might think it is strange that my relationship with my Dad centers around baseball, but you learn a lot about a person during all the down time at a ball game. Our conversations over the phone start out about how the Braves are “lookin” this year, but inevitably turns to what is going on in our respective lives.
Now let me explain how Chipper Jones connects us. Chipper is our favorite player, hands down. We both get giddy when talking about his amazing switch hitter abilities; in fact he ranks second on the all time switch-hitter RBI list. My Dad loves to brag that they share part of the same name because my dad’s first name is Wayne (along with millions of others I am sure!). We have both, admittedly, been on the “it is time to hang up the cleats” bandwagon because he cannot seem to run to first base without pulling a hamstring. My Dad still claims Chipper is a great fielder, which in reality we both know his age is showing on the field. All of this to say that since I was 5 years old, Chipper has been a Brave, which means he has been apart of our conversation for 18 years.
Chipper recently announced that the 2012 season will be his last. Although he has had his ups and downs personally, no one can deny what a great baseball player he is. I cannot deny that Chipper kept my Dad and I talking through the ups and downs of our own relationship. So thank you Chipper, and may my Dad and I have so much to talk about in your final season.