I am the middle kid in my family. When I was a kid I felt that my dad and I weren’t that close, but somehow we had a common interest, the awesome game of Baseball. My dad was a big baseball fan and frustrated baseball player. He grew up idolizing players like Sandy Koufax, Mickey Mantle and Joe Di Maggio. He tried his hardest to get into the big leagues, but somehow his father pushed him to go to the military instead.
Baseball became my dad and I’s connection. He taught me the basics of baseball…how to throw and how to bat. When I won my first little league game, I will never forget it, he told me that I was finally ready to attend my first big league baseball game. Fortunately, we got to travel to New York City and the game was in the Original Yankee Stadium, “The House that Ruth Built.”
I remember every detail of that day: stepping out of the #7 Train; the anticipation; the overwhelming feeling of “baseball energy;” the goose bumps when entering gate #3; and the euphoric excitement when the crowd started cheering. Wow, that was it. That’s when I was hooked.
Together, my dad and I enjoyed numerous games. We visited close to 17 cities and he always made sure we caught a game while we were there together. In every moment my dad and I spent together, I was happy.Visiting every baseball stadium is definitely on my Bucket List! #bucketlist #Baseball Click To Tweet
Then one day, we had a different conversation. He told me he would be going for his yearly checkup and he hadn’t been feeling well lately. We took him to the hospital for his checkup, and I sat in the waiting room – and waited – for what seemed like forever. After seeing the doctor, my dad told me he had to stay in the hospital over night to have more tests. At first, I couldn’t understand why he had to stay longer and I never really asked why. Months passed and finally we were told that he was really very sick. He was diagnosed with Colon Cancer.
Years of treatment went by. As with a lot of cancer patients, my dad had a lot of weight and at times it was startling how drained and weak he was. He always told me that as soon as he got out of the hospital, we would visit every baseball stadium and historic site from the past, present and future (they are always building somewhere).
A few days after he passed away, I vowed that I would continue his wish – complete his dream in his honor.
Years have passed and I have slowly started fulfilling his wish. One city, one stadium, one baseball site at a time, I am getting closer to accomplishing his dream. One of his favorite stadiums was the Original Tiger Stadium in Detroit, I journeyed through barbwire, rocks and tall grass to find this field – what was once the Original Tigers Stadium – and it was worth every cut and scrape. It was 2010 when I got to visit this holy baseball land where greats like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, and Roberto Clemente all played. It’s weird, but I felt a surge of energy in this sacred land.
About Our Guest Poster:
John Alo-Sweeney, aka: Mana’Olanakeiki Alo, is the Owner and CEO ALOGRAPHICS Unlimited. With his background and wide range of influences – from Comic Books to Japanese Animation to German Pop Art to Dutch Graffiti to Extreme Sports to New York City Urban Street Wear, his experience expands many media platforms. He has done custom designs for athletes, local surf and skate shops and has established himself in the music industry in Web Design, Album Covers and merchandising for various musical artists like N.E.R.D, Linkin Park, and Stone Temple Pilots, to name a few. He designs for various brands such as Quiksilver, Billabong, Volcom, Vans, Zoo York Institute and also does digital work and occasional inking work for DC Comics Media. John is also the CEO & Founder of Project ALO, a charitable project which gives used and still functional computers to people who need them – such as veterans, the elderly and the less fortunate, giving them professional opportunities and connecting them to their love ones and to the world.
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