Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hardcore Atlanta Braves fans know how to mix business with pleasure

Coors Field in Denver, Colo.
The Atlanta Braves showed some signs of life on Sunday when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-3, in St. Louis.

That’s about the only positive thing that I can say about the Braves this week. They dropped two games to Philadelphia on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week and lost the first two games of a three-game set against the Cardinals on Friday and Saturday. In other words, they went 1-4 since Monday of last week.

My dad used to say that it’s never a bad idea to mix business with pleasure, so on Sunday I waited until after 1 p.m. to cut my yard. First pitch of the Atlanta game was set for 1:15 p.m., so I knew that if I timed it just right, I could just about listen to the entire Braves-Cardinals game on my headphones and cut my neglected yard at the same time, which is what I did.

Even though it was hot, I had the game to keep my mind occupied, and it actually turned out to be a good, close game. Not only did the Braves win, but they also snapped a five-game losing streak.

As of Monday, the Braves were in fourth place in their division and 17-1/2 games out of first place. With about eight weeks left in the season, most realistic Braves fans know that our playoff hopes are getting slimmer and slimmer with each passing loss.

On the other side of the coin, Atlanta still has a chance to pull their feet out of the fire, but they are going to have to start winning in a big way. Hopefully, their miracle comeback started earlier this week in their four-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver. That four-game series ends today (Thursday), and then the Braves will return to Atlanta for a nine-game stretch against the Cincinnati Reds, the Seattle Mariners and the Rockies that will run through Aug. 27.

By that time, most eyes will begin to turn from baseball to football, that is, except for the die-hard grass-cutters among us.

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With that said, the 2017 high school football season will kick off for our local teams tomorrow (Friday) night when Sparta plays Cornerstone Christian in Evergreen.

This season will mark the 46th season of football at Sparta Academy and the fourth season for head coach Justin Chandler.

Although the school’s football program won’t hit the half-century mark for a few more years, the Warriors will pass a noteworthy moment in the program’s history on Sept. 29. That night, when the Warriors play Coosa Valley Academy in Harpersville, will represent Sparta’s 500th all-time varsity football game.

Tomorrow night’s game against Cornerstone will be the 493rd game in school history, but only the third time that they’ve ever played Cornerstone. Sparta is 0-2 all-time against Cornerstone, and the last time they played was in 2011 in Evergreen. In other words, the Warriors will make a little more school history tomorrow night when they collect the school’s first-ever football win against Cornerstone.

Compared to Sparta, Cornerstone has a young football program. Cornerstone launched its varsity football program in 2000, and their best season ever came in 2009 when they finished the season with a 9-2 overall record.

I’m typing this column on Monday afternoon, and I’m predicting an exciting football season for Sparta. They don’t have many players, but I think they’re going to be better than expected. 

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