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Thank You Opening Day

Trevathan, Corey - final collage

by Corey Trevathan

It didn’t start out as a big idea or a new tradition.  It was 2014 and the Atlanta Braves were getting ready for Opening Day.

I’ll confess, I didn’t grow up a huge baseball fan.  My dad enjoyed watching the Braves from time to time because they were always on TV and we lived fairly close to Atlanta, just a few miles down I-85 in Montgomery, AL. But ever since the day my son, Will, was born baseball has been a part of our family. He got that Fisher Price plastic t-ball set for his first birthday and never looked back. He joined his first baseball team when he was only 4 and has played the game every season since. Our family moved to Atlanta in 2009 so the Braves quickly became his number one team. Now it’s 2014, he’s 7 years old, and I get a phone call from a friend in our church offering us tickets to Opening Day at Turner Field.

We have a rule in our house. Anytime someone offers us free tickets to a sporting event, we say yes! To say my 7 year old son was excited for that day… he couldn’t have been happier if you handed him a million dollars! We went to the game, had a great day, and made memories that will last a lifetime.

The next year I had planned to go with a good friend to St. Louis for Opening Day. He is a huge Cardinals fan and we were looking forward to getting away for a couple of days. I bought the tickets and we made our plans to go. But the week before the game, something happened that altered those plans. My friend was a minister at a church in North Alabama and one of their beloved members had just passed away. There was no way he could make our trip. He needed to stay to help the family and the church through this important moment. Our plans would have to wait. And that was as it should be.

At first, I thought I would just sell the tickets. But then, I had the thought… Why don’t I just take my son to the game? I talked it over with my wife. I made the case that he would probably never remember what happened at school during those 2 days but he would never forget going to St. Louis for Opening Day! We left early in the morning driving 8 hours to make it in time for the game. Afterwards, we drove a couple of hours to a camp site where I set up a small two man tent for us. That night there were gale force winds and torrential rains! About 2:00 a.m. in the morning, with water pouring into the tent and the wind about to blow it over, I put Will in the truck and we started the drive home! We’ll never forget that game, the road trip, or the storm that nearly washed us away.

At this point, we’ve been to two Opening Days in a row. Now it’s 2016 and we had just moved to Dallas, TX. The Texas Rangers are just 20 minutes from our house. So we decide to keep this tradition alive and go see our new home town team. The Braves are still our number one team but we decided to adopt the Rangers as our second team. After all, the Braves are in the NL and the Rangers are in the AL. So they won’t play each other often and the chances of these two teams meeting in the World Series doesn’t seem to be a big concern at the moment.

Opening Day in Arlington, TX was by far our hottest Opening Day so far. We probably spent $100 on drinks trying to stay cool. Our seats were so hot we couldn’t sit down! But we had fun and the tradition was still alive.

In 2017, we decided to go to Houston. It was less than a 4 hour drive to Minute Maid Park and that season two of our favorite former Braves players were playing for the Astros. Brian McCann and Evan Gattis. So we put on our Braves gear and went to the game. We had a great experience. We were able to walk down right behind the players at batting practice and watch Altuve take a few swings. And after enduring the heat the year before at Globe Life Park, we enjoyed the dome in Houston!

At this point, we felt like we had started something special and we had to keep the tradition alive. The question was, where do we go next? Kansas City seemed like the logical choice. It was only a little over 7 hours away. We could still drive and make the game. What we didn’t think about was that Opening Day in Kansas City would be much colder than Dallas and Houston. We nearly froze! But we loved the classic ballpark. The people were fantastic. And the BBQ was something special.

Now, we’ve run out of ballparks within driving distance. So in 2019 we decided to fly to sunny San Diego for Opening Day to see the Padres! It was beautiful. And we got to see Fernando Tatis Jr. debut at shortstop. We flew into San Diego one day and back to Dallas the next.  Another quick trip but one we’ll never forget!

This year, Will and I had plans to go to Colorado to see the Rockies for Opening Day.  Unfortunately, those plans didn’t work out because of COVID-19. But on Opening Day we suited up in our Braves gear, took our seats on the couch, and watched our team play a classic game.  It wasn’t the same but we did our best to keep the tradition alive. I guess 2020 will have to go down with one of baseball’s famous asterisks. Even so, this tradition we’ve stumbled into has become something me and my son look forward to every year. It’s a chance for just the two of us to be together, have conversations that really matter, and make memories that will last forever. Thank you Opening Day. It’s about more than just baseball, it’s about family.

a Father & Son Collage, Corey & Will Trevathan
their Opening Days 2014-2019

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