How the A's Have Forever Influenced My Life (and hopefully yours too!)

OK, another Monday, another day off, and another pre-arranged promotion to the front page by me.... this time it's a heartfelt and excellent piece about how the essence of us is often inextricably intertwined with the team we love. This particular one is special because it comes from one of our favorite AN people who just happens to be heading off to college (sniff.... they grow up so FAST, don't they?) in a month's time and who wanted to share his thoughts and feelings triggered by this monumental transition, and how he feels shaped to this point by a lifetime of Athletics fandom.

So enjoy today (after all, we played pretty darn great this past weekend, and lo and behold! there were actual people there to see it!) and enjoy also the well-chosen and wise words of the WhizKid as he prepares to venture forth to become what he will be (hint: the sky's the limit) -- I feel certain you'll all enjoy his reminiscence about what the A's have meant to him in 17 years of living as he gets set to shove off for Arizona State and these next 4 years of Sun Deviltry in Tempe.     --Josh/EN


{PS: You ought also spend a portion of your Monday with Nico's Message of Hope, which is highly recommended reading in these tough times for the A's as a franchise.}

Ever since I was conceived, I was destined to be an A’s fan. I never had a choice; it was practically in my blood. It’s been a father & son thing through and through, and honestly I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

But sadly, things change, and right now I’m going through one of the biggest transitions I ever will: getting ready to leave for college. Since apparently this move marks the end of my childhood and the beginning of my adulthood, I’ve looked back at my first 17 years and done some thinking. Through my nostalgia, I realized how much of an influence the A’s have had on my life. Some of my best memories came from A’s games. I’ve shared a lot of moments with my dad that have brought us closer due to an A’s event. Even my decisions on which college I attend and what I major in have been influenced by my favorite team. It’s impossible to look at my life without finding the Oakland Athletics nearby. They’re forever intertwined. These are some events I’ll never forget and hopefully all fans will have similar memories like the ones I’m fortunate enough to have.



I remember...


Trading Card Giveaway Days. Back when the whole family would go, before my mom felt I was old enough to not have to come along, we would always make sure to attend the game where the trading packs would be given out. The fans were actually forced to trade to get a full deck, so in order to prevent an unhappy son, my mom would barter with anyone close by to get every last player. She never failed. 


Spring Training. Well, lots of Spring Trainings I guess. One of the first times, if not the first, I flew on an airplane was to Phoenix to catch A’s preseason games as a four year old. I used to win at least one promotional giveaway each year until my mom and sister stopped going. I thought I was just really lucky for a while until I learned that my mom would bribe the staff to pick me for prizes[EDIT: WhizMom states,"I never bribed anyone at spring training. I will admit to possibly flirting, definitely smiling, and always schmoozing"]. It’s pretty obvious that I was always excited once March rolled around. Spring Training each year also introduced me to Tempe, which allowed me to get familiar with ASU, the school I will be attending in less than a month now. Funny how those things work out.


The Playoffs. Back when the A’s were good, which seems so long ago now, the WhizDad and I made an effort to attend a playoff game in every ALDS the A’s played in. I don’t remember winning a whole lot of them, mostly because of the A’s horrendous luck/performance in most of their playoff series. I do remember the time Jason Isringhausen threw me a ball before a game, only it didn’t quite reach me and my dad bought a beer for the guy who ended up with it (we were the only ones in the section). I also remember the time my dad was on a business trip so my mom, who has no interest in baseball, had to take me. We lost that one, shocker, so she took me to the nearby Burger King to make me feel better. I have no idea why I remember that and not some more important things, but I guess food is all kids care about.


July 14, 2005. Well, to be honest, I didn’t actually remember the date exactly, just the game that happened on that day. Rich Harden took a perfect game into the 8th inning, only to get one out before giving up a hit to Alfonso Soriano. Since I wasn’t there for Braden’s perfect game (another great memory as an A’s fan), this might be the closest I get to witnessing one. And it’s one I won’t ever forget. The energy, the appreciation amongst the fans for the show they’re watching, it was all incredible. My dad and I still talk about it, mostly because it will forever remind us what could have been with a consistently healthy Harden. Sigh. 


Athletics Nation. I’m going to try to not get too sentimental during this section. I joined January 31, 2009, but it’s taken me a while to really get involved. Reading the blog actually caused me to start thinking about covering sports as a profession, and sure enough I’m going to ASU to major in Journalism! Other than that, AN hasn’t done much, other than inviting WhizDad and me to tailgates and becoming something of a family of fans for us. If you’re not an active member in this community, I sincerely suggest you become one, because you’re missing out otherwise.


This Last Weekend. It was a big weekend of firsts for me. First doubleheader. First walk off hit in person. First grand slam in person. First time hearing a guy swear during an in-game interview. It seriously could not have been more enjoyable. I spent three games with family and friends, eating the worst possible food for me and rooting on our favorite team. I also give the organization a lot of credit; this was the first time in a long while I’ve felt truly proud to be an A’s fan. I hope I never forget these past two days.



I think the toughest part about moving away from the A’s is that I don’t know if I’ll have any more memories like these. I’ll still go to Spring Training games, but maybe as an employee and not a fan. I can still watch the games with my dad, but via a computer using Skype. I’ve gone from wanting to play to the A’s when I’m grown up, to being a grown up and wanting to write about them. Like all things, these next few years will be different, but different isn’t always bad. It’ll just provide new experiences and memories and hopefully one day I’ll be able to start creating them with my kids. 

Maybe this is why I stay an A’s fan despite Bud Selig’s irresponsible and unprofessional actions (or lack thereof!) and the team's complete absence of an offense for most of the last three years. It’s because even when the A’s are terrible, the people I’m with aren’t. Whether it’s my family, my best friends, or an online blog, I always get to share these moments with someone else. None of these great memories came alone, in fact most of them were because of someone else. The A's just provided the time and place for all of these great things to happen.


Please share any stories you have about how the team has influenced your life!

Oh, and Go A’s!

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