Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Maybe It Isn't Really About The Baseball

A few weeks back, I commented to my classmate that I'd noticed a bunch of young guys in the town wearing Atlanta Braves apparel.  Being so far from home, when someone sports a hat or jacket from my hometown team, it's my first impulse to shout "Go Braves!" at them, or at the very least, to introduce myself and chat with them.  Hell, Winning Run and I did the same to some people in Seattle who were decked out in UGA gear one Saturday in the fall.  They were pretty friendly.  For some reason, however, I've been hesitant to do the same with the folks I've seen around town here.  "I'm pretty sure that these guys aren't baseball fans," I mentioned to my buddy.

Which brings me to today's lecture about gangs...
During what was an informative lecture about gangs that included several cringe-inducing security camera videos of homicides and assaults, I connected a few dots.  (Those dots, by the way, were not about why we were having this particular gang discussion as part of our medical school education. It was informative, engrossing, terrifying, and heartbreaking but lacked the ties to medicine that I would've preferred.) A local faction of major gang sometimes leaves graffiti tags using a three letter abbreviation or numerical equivalent. The officer giving the lecture mentioned these numbers. Immediately, I recognized them as an area code from the Atlanta area.  Then, I made the leap to Atlanta apparel.  When I asked the officer about this connection between the "area code" and MLB clothes and hats, he responded as if it were a novel idea to him.  "I guess they could be doing that.  It fits.  We'll look into it," he told me enthusiastically.  "Considering that I've seen more Braves gear out here than I did back in Atlanta, that might be a good idea," I said.  Then I returned to my seat and planned what I would say to the crowd when the mayor inevitably presents me with the key to the city.

In other news, I'm glad that when I saw the first of these cats, I didn't start yelling and doing the Braves chop ... or running through my pitch signs.  They might not be as nostalgic as I am for the Sid Bream slide.

Saturday, January 01, 2011