The Braves drive-by victory parade through Downtown. (Photo by Asep Mawardi)

One silver lining of the socially distanced pandemic was that we never got sick with anything. Now after a full household slate of COVID vaccines it was almost hard to believe my kids weren’t feeling well.

It turned out to just be good ol’ strep throat. Admittedly, strep throat is a weird thing to feel nostalgic for, but this diagnosis brought me back to simpler times. Antibiotics were prescribed, no drastic quarantine was required, and we didn’t have to fret about how sick anyone might get. They were cleared for a return to school 24 hours after the first dose. Which was fantastic because returning to all day, in-person school this school year was like winning the World Series for us parentals.

Incidentally, the late nights of watching the Braves march to the World Series title may account for the drag on our immune systems. When they were up 7-0 heading into the bottom of the 9th inning in decisive Game 6, Elliott mused that if they found a way to lose “it would be the most Atlanta thing ever.” But that designation more aptly describes the drive-by, speed-victory parade. Major League Baseball may have to check the bus drivers for performance enhancing drugs but hey, what’s a baseball season without a scandal?

I am however, in the camp that is ready for a Braves name change and for the tomahawk chop to be retired. Some are suggesting the team be renamed the Hammers in honor of Hammering Hank Aaron, but I think we can just change one letter and sort this whole thing out. The Braves become The Bravos (which many people call them anyway) and we all move on. Bravo! Adopt the Hammer in place of the Tomahawk and we honor Hank as well. Then the Chop House becomes the Hammer House and let’s be honest, that’s a more appropriate description of what goes on in there anyway, isn’t it?

Our household feels very sports-centric these days, even when it comes to school. A scheduling quirk has Elliott ending every day of freshman year with an elective called “Team Sports” and then a period of P.E. So, we hear more about him draining three pointers or playing Wiffle Ball than physics, but he seems to be enjoying it. We’re learning that our son is a stealthy student. I never see him hunkering down to assignments but even his effort grades have been excellent. Could it be that some of the time he’s squirreled away in his room is spent studying?

Margo will let you know what’s going on, though. Like the other day when she was at the cutting board and informed me that she was slicing up the “penultimate apple” in a testing sort of way. Yes, I do know what that means, but I certainly didn’t when I was in sixth grade. Anyway, I guess ELA class is going well.

She’s also taking Band and learning how to play the euphonium (that was indeed a new word for me this year). When she practices it sounds like ships coming into harbor, so it’s sort of like living seaside. And when she plays “Mary Had a Little Lamb” I can totally name that tune. I may have to check in with her science teacher, because this conversation transpired without a trace of any misgivings:

Margo: I was in science class today and I saw a cute house on Zillow that I want to live in.
Me: What?
Margo: It’s in Connecticut
Me: Wait, why were you…
Margo: It’s $11 million dollars. 

There’s probably a lot to unpack there, but I should just be supportive, right? Plus, I’m too busy being thankful for the progress we’ve made in Atlanta this fall. Returning to normal feels like winning and winning feels superlative. So, cheers to the Bravos and bravo to the educators – my true Champs of 2021.

Tim Sullivan

Tim Sullivan is an award-winning columnist who writes about family life and thinks everything is at least a little funny.