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  • Bill Chastain

Birthday for a Sportswriter’s Daughter

When the kids were young, Patti and I were sitting on the porch watching our daughter, Carly, toss a baseball with a friend while our son, Kel, executed pirouettes on roller blades. The scene prompted me to observe:

Carly and Kel Kel and Carly getting it done in the sand box

“Our daughter wants to be Ken Griffey, Jr. and our son wants to be Peggy Fleming.”

Kel eventually got into sports. Carly always has been. Having kids who enjoy sports has been a good thing since it’s given us even more things to share over the years. I’ve been lucky.

Carly turns 29 today, so what better time to dote on a sportswriter’s daughter than her birthday.

Like the time she grilled Jose Canseco when the Devil Rays held a bring your daughter to work day. Canseco fielded questions from the girls so I told Carly to ask if he planned on breaking Mark McGwire’s single-season home run mark of 70. Instead she asked if he planned on breaking Fred McGriff’s club record. The Crime Dog held the Devil Rays’ standard at the time with 19.

Canseco chuckled: “By the end of May.”

We were together at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium for Game 6 of the 1995 World Series when the Braves defeated the Indians 1-0 to become world champions. In the sixth inning, I started to get up from my seat to buy a beer and was told: “You can’t get up. It’s the World Series.”

Carly and Her Pops Buying her old man a beer

And I’ll never forget seeing her keep score at a Devil Rays-Yankees game at Tropicana Field sandwiched between Brian Cashman, the Yankees GM, and Mark Newman, the Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations. My chest swelled when both spoke glowingly about her baseball knowledge.

Finally, I had lousy tickets for a Georgia Teck-Wake Forrest game at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Carly wasn’t satisfied and told me we needed to find better seats, so I humored her as she looked around the stadium until we came upon two empties at the 50-yard line, about forty rows up. I knew the owner of the seats would eventually arrive, but I didn’t argue when we sat, I simply followed her lead. Nobody ever showed and I learned a lesson from her that day: Always aim high.

The Sportswriter’s Daughter has since evolved in so many areas. She graduated from Georgia Tech with a civil engineering degree, has a good job, married well, and still loves sports. On top of all that, she is fun, attractive, and nice to people. In other words, she is, and always has been, the total package.

Talk about making a parent proud.

Happy Birthday, Sis. Your mother and I love you!

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