Culberson, Braves passion; Summer youth sports camps
This column contained a question weeks ago just as the Major League season was getting underway. The question is even more applicable today that it was when first asked. The question was “What is there not to like about Charlie Culberson?”
There is possibly no need for an explanation but it is worthy to note that Charlie played for Coach Chip Henderson on his Calhoun High School region and state championship teams.
After climbing to the Majors and playing for a couple of teams Charlie became a member of our hometown Atlanta Braves. Ironically, it is that designation as “hometown” used in describing Charlie by the broadcast and print media out of Atlanta. There are two cities in North Georgia who can claim Charlie as their own: Rome and Calhoun.
The Culberson family has long been synonymous with baseball in Northwest Georgia. Calhoun High experienced a connection to the Culberson’s for years by reason of them living in the Model School area. Leon Culberson (Charlie’s grandfather) hit a home run for the Boston Red Sox in the 1946 World Series. It was a matter of pride with this writer that a player from Shannon, Ga. was in the Major Leagues.
Jim was an athlete at Model High around my age. Then there is Charlie’s dad who was a prominent athlete himself. The Culberson name was prominent in the adult Northwest Georgia Textile League back in the 1940s with Calhoun and Shannon’s teams meeting up on a regular basis.
With all the above said (I will leave it to Alex to give the particulars) Charlie has greatly widened the excitement about his play with the Braves with each of his great games. As an example – and I am sure it can be true of many – Coach Diane Smith has begun to schedule her activities around the Braves TV schedule. She also expressed warm sentiments by saying that she was so proud of Charlie that she would nearly cry when he played and is interviewed.
Alex got to take his father to the Sunday game. For one who went to 39 games in 1966 – the Braves first year in Atlanta and before I-75 was even close to be finished – there is doubt I will see another “live” game. Years do that to one. Because of physical ailments there will be no effort to make the trip to experience the love for the Braves up close and personal. That feeling has been in this heart since 1950 when Earl Mann, owner of the Atlanta Crackers, signed a working agreement with the Boston Braves and Eddie Mathews was an 18-year-old slugger for the Crackers.
Right now, all loyal Braves fans can enjoy the early-season success of the Braves and our own Charlie Culberson’s contribution. He will be someone fans can tell their grandchildren about.
School is out for the summer. With that break in academics and athletic competition between schools come the sports camps for the youth of our county. Soon we will see pictures in this paper of the hundreds of youngsters who attended camps associated with Gordon Central, Calhoun and Sonoraville Schools.
We would be inconsistent if it were not pointed out that there will be camps with emphasis on various aspects of the performing arts and some academic areas. It would be nearly criminal if I tried to go into an area of which I am ignorant. Information concerning the camps is made public in various ways.
Someone might question the worth of camps for little ones. One or two observations are worthy of attention: First, participation in a camp will not automatically make a youngster an extremely-skilled athlete. The participation will expose our young to concepts, to skills and to attitudes necessary to be successful in their chosen pursuit. Those who end up performing and competing at older ages are those who stay the course and diligently apply themselves to those values to which they have exposed and taught.