Braves fairy tale: No wizards or witches. Just teamwork and bit of magic

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Good lessons for students in how Atlanta Braves emerged world champs

This may be the week to set aside “The Little Engine That Could” and read about “The Atlanta Team That Did” in classrooms across Georgia.

I don’t follow sports, but no one in Atlanta could ignore the unlikely and unbelievable World Series journey of the Braves. As my talented AJC colleague Mark Bradley wrote, “On April 2, they had a losing record. On June 2, they had a losing record. On Aug. 2, they had a losing record. On Nov. 2, they became world champions.”

Yes, this story posits a winner and a loser, something I normally try to sidestep with young granddaughters who always want me to decree who ran faster, jumped higher or made the scariest face. However, there’s more to this tale than the Braves baseball team bringing the Commissioner’s Trophy home to a city that hasn’t seen one since 1995.

The amazing victory offers a homage to teamwork, to recognizing that no one person holds the key, that there is power and perhaps even magic in a group committed to a common goal and respectful of the contributions of each member. Despite injuries that sidelined top players, the Braves found the collective will to push through, to persevere and prevail.

This was a team that understood and celebrated the power of “we.”

Among the quotes from the season that students ought to read:

First baseman Freddie Freeman: “We hit every pothole, every bump you could possibly hit this year, and somehow the car still made it onto the other side. It’s just an incredible group.”

Braves manager Brian Snitker: “Some places you can put too many mismatched parts together, and it’s not easy. The core group here and the makeup of this club makes it such that it’s an easy environment to come in and feel you want to be a part of it.”

Outfielder Adam Duvall: ‘We’re playing for it all. We’re playing for everything right now. We’re playing for the dreams that we’ve had as a little kid. It’s not going to be easy. This time of the year, all throughout the postseason it’s not going to be easy. You’ve got guys that are willing to run through walls for a win.”

Reliever AJ Minter: “That’s what makes us into the people we are today, the baseball players we are. If you haven’t gone through failure, then you haven’t experienced life. Going through failure, it builds you.”