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Some Thoughts About Credit Union History … As A Legend of My Youth Passes

 I woke up this morning to the sad news that Atlanta Braves Broadcaster Skip Caray passed away Sunday. To anyone who is not a fan of the Atlanta Braves or baseball, this news may not be of any great importance. But to anyone who is a fan of the Braves, it’s a huge loss.

Skip called the Braves games for 33 years, including the 1970s and 80s, when the Braves were for the most part simply awful. But as the Braves played a blistering stretch of ball late in the 1980 season and actually contended into September, Skip’s funny, artful commentary on WSB-AM won over this high school senior. 

Listening to a baseball game on the radio is in many ways far superior to watching in on TV or even in person. The listener provides a canvas, and the commentator the color. The interaction between the two people, connected only by crackling radio waves, paints a vivid picture that is rich in texture.   

It was a summer of many magical moments for me listening to the Braves’ games on radio. Veteran players like Phil Niekro & Chris Chambliss joined forces with young players like Dale Murphy and Bob Horner to give the faithful a pennant race deep into September. That was a real shock given that the team actually started the season 1-9.

That 1980 team faded at the end to finish 81-80 for the year, losing out to superior NL West teams in Houston, LA & Cincinnati. But a lifetime love affair with baseball started on those hot summer nights in Georgia, thanks in part to Skip’s radio work.

And despite work stoppages, steroids, and prissy drama queen millionaire players, my love for the game has never waned in the years since.

Skip’s passing hit me hard, because he’s a part of my personal history and a big connecting point to my love of the Braves and the game of baseball. In the hours since I first heard it, my thoughts of course turned to my family and those who matter most, and making sure that I make more time for them.

But I also think about credit unions, and the older folks who have invested so much of themselves in this movement. In NC, the credit union movement helped to transform the economy and lift so many out of poverty during the depression … and some folks still living are keenly aware of that vivid history and knew some of the iconic names of this wonderful movement personally.

But time stops for no one, and more and more of these folks are leaving us.

So I encourage you to take some time, if you have not already done so, to spend a few hours with the men and women who have helped to make your credit union what it is today. Documenting that history represents an important piece of who you are — and their stories are intimately tied to the communities you have served for so long. If you’ve done this already, good for you! I’d love to hear your credit union’s stories – feel free to leave a comment.

Once these people leave us, the chance to really feel and understand that legacy is gone, and the opportunity to inspire future generations about credit unions passes on with them.    

Here’s a link to perhaps one of Skip’s greatest calls – the 1992 NL Championship Series … Game Seven against the Pirates … with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Braves needed two runs to return to the World Series.  

RIP Skip & thanks for the memories.


3 Responses

  1. Great article, I am not a huge fan of baseball but I can relate to a childhood hero passing.

    When I go into my credit union, http://www.tropicalfcu.org, they immediately ask me how I am by name and how my family is doing. My whole family have always had accounts with Tropical Financial Credit Union and it’s almost like a family reunion when I walk in. I can’t imagine banking any other way!

  2. Baseball is the best game on the planet. I’m really looking forward to the new season. Should be the best yet.

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