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The institutions of fall

By Mike Ruffin There was a time when I really looked forward to the World Series. I’ve been a Braves fan ever since they moved to Atlanta in 1966. From that year until 1990, my team never played in the Series. Oh, they won their division a couple of times and so had a shot, but they never made it. It was all right; I didn’t expect them to win the National League championship and earn a spot in the Fall Classic, so I was never disappointed. Besides, I was a baseball fan. I watched the World Series because it was baseball’s pinnacle. Great baseball was always played; high drama was always provided. I loved baseball, so I loved the World Series. Then something strange and wonderful happened. The Braves started winning. They started winning big. They started winning every year. Beginning with their worst-to-first season in 1991, they won 14 consecutive division titles. They played in the World Series five times, winning it in 1995. And I became spoiled. I found out what it was like to have my team play in the World Series. I experienced the exhilaration and heartbreak that comes from feeling like everything in the universe is riding on every pitch. When the Braves didn’t make it, the experience wasn’t the same. It wasn’t as exciting or as fulfilling. Lately, there have been some years that I’ve hardly watched the World Series at all. I’m watching this year. It’s a historic series; either the Cubs will win their first one since 1908 or the Indians will win their first since 1948. I’m pulling for the Cubs, mainly because our daughter-in-law Michelle and her family, who live in Madison, Wisconsin, are long-time Cubs fans. Plus, I’m tired of hearing about that Billy goat curse (look it up). I’d be more excited if the Braves were in it. But hey, it’s baseball. It’s the World Series. I’m a baseball fan. I need to participate. It’d be wrong not to. That brings me to the Nov. 8 election. Maybe you have a candidate you’re really excited about. Maybe you can’t wait (or couldn’t wait, if you voted early), to vote for your gal or guy. Maybe you’ve waited all your life to be able to vote for the person you’re voting for this year. Or maybe not. But hey, it’s an election. It’s important. Our participation is vital to our democracy and to our way of life. So vote. And be very, very glad, that of these two great fall institutions, the World Series is the one that happens every year. Mike Ruffin turned 18 in September 1976 and voted in his first presidential election that November at the Lamar County Courthouse. He’s voted in every one since. His latest book is Fifty-Seven: A Memoir of Death and Life. If you’re from around here, you may be in it, so you might want to buy one and find out.

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