Sliding into tradition

Sports are a family affair for the Bolens, Cincinnati Reds fans from Indiana.

Tammy Bolen was there to see Pete Rose break the National League hit streak record. She was there to see the fans at Riverfront Stadium follow every pitch during every game like it was the last they’d ever see. She was there to see the cheers, the cries, and everything else connected to the baseball team y known simply as the ‘Big Red Machine.’

The crowd in Cincinnati that night in the summer of 1978 had been spoiled by two World Series championships in the past three seasons. But they weren’t satisfied. They wanted more, and the 37-year-old guy at third base named Pete Rose looked like their best bet to lead them back to the Fall Classic. Happily displaced 60 or so miles from her hometown of Connersville, Indiana, Tammy was there to see her Reds win a ball game.

Many years and championships later, Tammy wanted her three sons to experience that joy. She made baseball a part of their family. The four of them would watch Reds games together, follow the stats of the players and, when they could, travel from Indianapolis to Cincinnati to watch their team try to win.

To those not interested in sports, the fans can seem pretty ridiculous. To those fans, though, whether or not their team scores on this possession, drive, or inning means everything. Some of them dedicate a lot of time and money to their favorite team. Some follow that team like a religion of sorts, as do the Bolens.

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