Passion, obsession or commitment?

Last night, Robert attended his 860th consecutive Atlanta Braves home game. He likes to arrive early, just before the gates open two and a half hours prior to the first pitch.
I catch up with him at the shaded spot where season ticket holders enter — if I’ve been able to get hold of someone’s season tickets for a game.
There Robert transforms himself into “the chief” — with no hint of political correctness. The young man carries his Braves duffel bag from his suburban home to downtown, and then walks several blocks from Underground Atlanta to Turner Field.
Outside the gate, he puts on his costume — and puts back on his running shoes and glasses.
“Chief” always knows the exact number of his consecutive games streak. He also knows baseball, which makes him a fun conversationalist as we await security to open the big iron gates and let us in to watch batting practice.
Attending every home game for a sports team for a decade is quite a feat. I kid him about watching out for buses when crossing the street in order to stay off the disabled list.
He said he had missed only one game in the 12 seasons of Braves baseball at The Ted or his streak would be longer. He did that purposefully to attend his grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration.
Apparently, his supervisor at the clothing store in Marietta is supportive of Robert’s commitment to the Braves. His work schedule is flexible enough to attend day games as well.
I always enjoy my pre-game conversations with Robert — though I consider it good to catch 20 games a season myself. I can’t imagine going to 860 in a row.
Is it passion, obsession or commitment? I don’t know. But most churches would welcome members with that kind of willingness to be present regardless of weather or other factors.
And one can bet that Chief Robert will be in the right-field stands just behind Jeff Francoeur again tonight — logging number 861 and cheering for a sweep of the Mets.

(I don’t have a photo of Robert. Taking my camera feels too much like work. Maybe later.)

1 Comment

  1. Johnny:
    Good stuff.

    My Dad had an anecdote, as I’m sure many preacher’s do, about a similar character he came across in Hayesville, North Carolina when Dad was pastor at Truett Memorial Baptist Church in early 60’s.
    Guy Carter’s thing was revival services.
    Once Dad carried Guy every night to a little church bout five miles out of town, and Dad would go another 4 miles to the church where he was preachin the same week.
    Toward the end of the 2nd week, Daddy says to Guy: I’ve been pretty good bringing you to Shiloh for 8 days, why don’t you come on up and hear me preach tonight?
    Guy said: Shucks Preacher, nothin goin on up there, all your people are comin down here where the Spirit is moving.

    Guy got word later Dad had used him in a sermon on the Lamb’s Book of Life, saying Guy’s name was in that book.
    Guy saw him later in town and told Daddy he appreciated the good word he’d heard was said about him.

    Differnet kind of fellow, but I hear Brent Walker will be at the Braves game tonight. I imagine you will see him there; and if you are attending the BHHS meeting, would love to hear your report on the lecture tomorrow about the difference between Truett and Criswell on Church/state.
    Could be most timely.
    All true baseball fans must own a copy of Halberstam’s The Teammates.
    That’s my last word on this one.


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