Atlanta Braves Day Dream Experience
May 19, 2018 (Atlanta, GA)
Dream On 3’s First-Ever Atlanta, GA Day Dream
By Michelle Cline
Although the forecast predicted 90% chance of rain, I drove to Atlanta’s Battery Park on Saturday morning with high hopes for a dry and fun-filled day at the Annual Atlanta Braves Miracle League Clinic. This was my first Day Dream and Dream On 3’s first official Atlanta event. So, I was excited and nervous for many reasons. Most of all, I was excited to meet Cade, Cate, Zachary, and Collin and their families. While I have been exchanging emails and phone calls with their families for the past 2 weeks, this would be my first real introduction to the kids. All I knew about these 4 kids was that they were all wheelchair-bound and play on an adaptive basketball team through Blaze Sports America called Jr. Hawks. As I met them, I soon learned that the Jr. Hawks are a team to be reckoned with—their varsity team ranked 2nd in the nation this past season!! Wow—I was in the presence of champions (and I hadn’t even met any Braves players yet).
It was exciting to see them ready to play ball in their Dream On 3 hats and customized Braves jerseys. Before we joined the 75 other participants, our new dreamers and I started our Day Dream in our traditional manner with a Dream On 3 huddle. Our group started out in the rotation where they warmed up by practicing pitching and catching. Collin was excited to get some one-on-one coaching from left-handed relief pitcher, Jesse Biddle. In the next rotation, our players got to practice pitching and grounding with pitcher, Mike Soroka, who made his outstanding major league debut only 2 weeks before and Braves Alumni, Christhian Martinez. Soroka was so impressed with our Dreamers that he kept pitching to them over and over and even called his teammates over to watch Zachary’s speed and agility as he caught the grounders and fired them back in to home plate. In the third rotation, our team practiced catching fly balls from Braves Alumni, Dwight Smith. Smith celebrated Cade’s amazing efforts with a big high five, which led to a great view of his 1991 World Series Ring! Our final rotations took us inside the Chop House Gate for pitching and batting practice. After several strikes, Cate was ecstatic when she realized she got a hit. Our players also got a chance to see if they could throw a major league strike in the virtual pitching simulator. Thanks to the guidance of left-fielder, Preston Tucker, our players showed that it’s not as hard as it looks!!
We were treated to lunch and a breathtaking view of the inside of Sun Trust Park. Later that evening, Cate, Cade, Collin, and Zachary and their families all returned to watch and cheer as the Braves defeated the Marlins 8-1.
Throughout all the rotations, our Day Dream Kids showed that they are not only fierce competitors on the basketball court, but that they are amazing athletes on the baseball diamond, as well. In addition to being great athletes, I was struck by what happy, grateful, compassionate, excited, and respectful individuals they are. And having spent time with their fun and supportive families, it was easy to see why. I hope Collin, Zachary, Cade, and Cate all went home that night with a jersey full of coveted Braves autographs feeling special and supported. I went home that night feeling blessed that the Atlanta Braves contribute to such an amazing event, feeling blessed that non-profit groups like The Miracle League and Blaze Sports America do such amazing work for children with disabilities, and feeling blessed that Dream On 3, as a brand-new organization to Atlanta, was invited to attend. Most of all, I feel blessed that I have made new friends, in Cate, Collin, Zachary, and Cade, and that these new friends have reminded me that challenges and obstacles placed in our paths are really just opportunities to grow and to seek out the other gifts within ourselves. Thank you for a truly blessed day! Go Braves!
Michelle Cline, Executive Director
Dream On 3 – Georgia
Special thanks to our referral partner:
Blaze Sports America
Additional Partners Include:
The Atlanta Braves & The Miracle League