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August 6, 2018

My Sports Lovin’ Daddy

by Caroline Gallagher

Every sports guy wants to be a sports dad. To teach their sons to share the love of the game, coach them to play the sports they played, follow the teams they love. Or, I assume that’s what dads want for their sons. For me, my sports lovin’ daddy lucked out with all girls. All four of us! So, growing up, I was probably the most informed girl, along with my sisters, about all of the sports. However, there was one that was more special than the rest. Baseball.

You see, I was blessed to be initiated as a Braves fan when the best players were playing. Chipper and Andruw Jones, John Smoltz, Tommy Glavine, Javy Lopez, Greg Maddux…oh my heart is happy just mentioning those names! Countless nights were spent resting my head on my daddy’s chest watching the game. I learned the most important rule of the game very quickly, only have conversations during the commercials, or when they are creaming the opponent.

Caroline with sisters Bonnie, Delaney and Michelle during the rain delay at Turner Field in 2011.

On game days that my daddy would be working, that meant I was responsible for recording the games on the VHS. I was also responsible for rewinding the tape, that way he didn’t learn the final score before watching it, not that that ever happened or anything! I was very happy when I remembered the game and had already started recording when the phone rang. When we got a computer with internet I was the one responsible for having mlb.com on the computer when he walked in the house. It was humourous trying to teach him that he could do it on his own, however I am thankful he didn’t want to learn. That was our time together. He would tell me what team he wanted to know about or which player. I spent countless hours sitting beside him learning baseball, trying to predict who he wanted to learn about next.

The Gallagher’s first Braves game to celebrate Father’s Day in 2011, Braves vs. Rangers.

In 2011 we got to experience a Braves game with the entire family. Braves vs Rangers. We had heckling, all the sunflower seeds, a rain delay, rally caps, and a ton of memories made. That loss will go down as my favorite game ever. There is something special about sitting at a baseball game beside the guy who shared his love of baseball with you.

My daddy passed away unexpectedly in 2016 at the young age of 58, but my love of baseball continues. He would have been 60 next week on August 15th. You see, baseball is more than a game. It’s memories. It’s quality time. It’s forever.

Last year I got to experience my first international MLB game, in Toronto, and to top it off it was with his siblings! The game was terrible. The Toronto Blue Jays were playing the Houston Astros. Granted, the Astros did go on to win it all. However, the game was one home run away from making history for the worst loss in the stadium. That was not the point though. It is a great way to connect with my dad and to make him proud. It does not matter if I am in the stands, watching on tv, or keeping updated in my new home now in Ghana, baseball still brings me closer to my daddy. I will forever be a baseball fan.

July 2017, Rogers Center, Toronto. Caroline with sister Michelle, a few aunts and uncles, after the Blue Jays-Astros game.

So here’s to sharing your love of baseball with someone. You never know when it might be the comfort and connection they need for a lifetime.

Featured image: 2011, Turner Field. Caroline and her Daddy with rally caps, hoping to bring the Braves some luck against the Rangers.

August 6, 2018

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