This past weekend, my family and I spent time in Cooperstown, New York for 2015's Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.
Our goal for attending the weekend was to cheer on one of Houston's greatest baseball players, Craig Biggio. I knew the weekend would be filled with excitement, but what I didn't know was that I would experience a weekend that would touch my heart in so many ways.
Getting to the Baseball Hall of Fame is NOT easy...especially if you're from down south. It required a flight that included a layover, a car rental at the airport, then a 2 hour drive to Cooperstown. Would I do it all over again? ABSOLUTELY. In a heart beat...
What I also didn't know is that 80% of the population of Houston, Texas would be in attendance, too! Ok, I exaggerate a bit, but seriously....there were 45,000 fans in attendance and at least 60% of them were in Orange and Blue. CRAZY!
Spending the weekend with my family was so special. It brought back many wonderful memories of my childhood attending baseball games, card trading, and cheering for "The Killer B's"!
As far as the Baseball Hall of Fame itself goes, I just couldn't get enough. We spent about 6 hours total over the course of the weekend inside and I know I still missed stuff.
I know it sounds cliche, but two players stories really touched my heart in a way that no one else's could. Babe Ruth was the first - he loved the sport and passed away from cancer. Sadly, cancer doesn't discriminate - it affects even the greatest of legends.
Another story was that of the great Hank Aaron. After reading a few samples of hate mail he received as an African American ballplayer (y'all...people can be SO hateful), I also read a letter that was written to him in 2001 from someone who's life was touched by Hank's. It spoke of the legacy that Hank gave to him and his family - they even named their son Aaron Henry (partially a family name and partially after Hank Aaron). The tears flowed freely as I read that letter - I can only imagine how it make Hank feel. I love it when someone else's life is touched by something another person does, just for simply doing what they love and doing it well.
Biggio's plate to be added to the wall of the greatest baseball players in history!
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony was hands down one of the most incredible experiences of my life (it definitely makes the "top 5 list")! The chant of "B-G-O" was heard throughout the weekend over and over again and I LOVED IT!
During Biggio's acceptance speech, the tears flowed freely again. Here is a man who gave the sport all he had and was richly rewarded in doing so. Such an incredible honor for a many who gave the city of Houston and surrounding areas something to look forward to every baseball season for almost 20 years.
Perhaps the thing that struck me the most was the fact that there were Astros fans, Braves fans, and Red Sox fans all together in one location - and there was no rivalry at all - we were all just there for the love of the sport and the excitement to see our favorites elected into the Hall of Fame! As a non-Braves fan growing up (sorry, I loved the Astros)...even my heart swelled with pride for Smoltz and was excited for other braves fans I saw there....and they were excited for us as Astros fans, too! The comradery was seriously nothing I've ever experienced before!
(Insert stupid note here: There was ONE Red Sox fan who kinda made me angry but I got over
it. As we were walking down the street in our Astros red (old school
uniforms), he put his hand in the air to give us a high five. He quickly
realized we were Astros fans, so he put his hand down really fast and
said "OH, Never mind...y'all are Astros fans. Astros suck." The weekend wasn't about who is a better team...it was about a love of baseball and its fans. For future HOF weekend visitors, DON'T BE
THAT GUY. Just don't.) Thankfully, the amount of gracious Red Sox fans made up for this one poo-head in the bunch!
If you're a sports fan and had a childhood favorite growing up, then you'll understand where I'm coming from. My heart and head are so full right now of all of the incredible experiences we had during our trip. I'll be back later with more on the various events throughout the weekend and share more of what's on my heart with all of you!
Are you a sports fan? Did you grow up cheering for a certain team/athlete?
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