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Feb. 15—CUMBERLAND — Still basking in the glow of his World Series victory, hometown hero Dansby Swanson and his immediate family gave an intimate and, at times, laugh-out-loud account of his path to stardom at the Roxy Theatre Monday morning.
The 28-year-old Marietta High School graduate, turned Atlanta Braves shortstop, turned MLB champion acknowledged life in the spotlight wasn't always easy.
"I'll tell you, you can't get away with anything, because everybody knows you. So if you do anything bad, you get in trouble," he said, smiling.
"Let me stop you right there," his older brother Chase Swanson said, jumping in. "When you're Dansby Swanson, you get away with everything."
The crowd roared with laughter.
"He's right that (our parents) knew about everything, but he still got away with everything."
The playful banter that comes naturally to siblings was on display throughout Monday's event, organized by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. At one point, Dansby Swanson quipped he was unemployed, a reference to stalled negotiations between the player's union and the league.
When he mentioned his fiancée, Mallory Pugh, a World Cup-winning soccer player for the Chicago Red Stars, his mother, Nancy Swanson, chimed in: "She IS employed."
"It's funny," Dansby Swanson said. "When we got engaged (in December), my brother — he didn't even text (Pugh) 'Congratulations.' He just said, 'How do your parents feel about you being engaged to an unemployed college dropout?'"
It wasn't all fun and games, though. The three siblings — Dansby Swanson; Chase Swanson, an attorney; and their sister, Lindsey Swanson, a psychologist — were dead-serious about their philanthropic and volunteer work.
Dansby Swanson spoke of founding with his best friend a company called All Things Loyal, which sells apparel celebrating Atlanta culture and donates the proceeds to local charitable organizations.
"I felt like, you know, playing in all these cities, people didn't really understand and appreciate the culture that Atlanta had brought forward," he said. "Whether it was musically, through sports, ... (or) my faith, there's all the different things that I felt were iconic about the city of Atlanta."
The event's moderator, Chris Leggett, CEO of Marietta-based LGE Community Credit Union, asked the family what it was like watching their son play in the World Series for the hometown team. Dansby Swanson's father, Cooter Swanson, said it was nice to share the excitement of the moment with the "extended family" of the Marietta community in which they have spent their entire lives.
"I always describe it as stressful fun," Cooter Swanson said. "You want your kid to be successful. What you would like to think and hope is ... for people to understand, that's what they do for a living. ... Everybody we know and people we don't know watched him work ... and they decide who and what he is based on if he gets a hit or if he strikes out or if he makes a play or doesn't make a play. But that's not who he is, that's just what he does."
Radio station host Chris Dimino, who introduced Leggett and the Swanson family, touched on that theme when talking about the shortstop.
"We stack up numbers and we say, 'What were you? How successful were you?'" Dimino said, speaking of sports aficionados. "The problem sometimes with athletes when they get done is, that's who they are."
Not Dansby Swanson, who, Dimino continued, understands: "When this is done, I will have more than half a life to lead — I will not be done doing what I'm supposed to be doing."
Some in the crowd were impressed with the children the Swanson parents had raised. When members of the audience were given the opportunity to ask questions, one, a young father, wanted to know: How did you manage?
Cooter Swanson recalled telling his children he would not pay for them to go to college. They had to earn their own way in life, and they did.
But when Chase Swanson became a father, Cooter Swanson offered to start an account where he could put a little money toward his grandkid's education. Chase Swanson declined.
"He's like, 'Why would you do this?'" Cooter Swanson recalled his son saying. The crowd laughed. "He said, 'I don't want you to do that. I want you to do the same for Tucker that you did for us.'"
Nancy Swanson agreed.
"I think you need to have the bar set fairly high," she said. "Understanding that kids may not reach it, you love on them, but they need to have something to reach for."