Why do we love baseball so much? It is slow, most of the season is during the dog days of summer, there is no time limit, your team is constantly changing, the outcome is decided by a big scary man in a mask behind the catcher and so many more qwerks. It is these things that make baseball so special to so many. If I really have to explain why we love baseball you probably won’t understand. I don’t know why I love baseball but I do.
I am not a Boston Red Sox fan. I have never been, and probably won’t ever be a fan of the Red Sox. However, in the world of baseball, Fenway Park is one of the few remaining cathedrals. It is not just a ballpark but a piece of American History. You can’t help but have romantic feelings about Fenway regardless of how you feel about the Sox. It stands to remind us where we have been. May we never forget those who came before.
Dream on 3 has taken me to a lot of football fields but this was my first baseball dream. When I first heard about Cole and his love for baseball, I knew we would be fast friends. This entire experience of going to Fenway and meeting David Ortiz was just an extra bonus. When I first hear that I am going to be part of a dream I am always excited to meet the athlete. After the dream, it becomes the Dream Kid and their family that have impacted me more than any professional athlete. This was no different.
Cole is a 16-year-old from Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, which is a huge city outside of Charlotte. By huge I mean very small. Don’t blink while driving down Highway 49 or you might miss the whole town. There is definitely something special about Mount Pleasant and the people who live there.
Every dream starts with a sendoff. Some of our sendoffs start at a restaurant or the kid’s school, but not Cole. We picked up Cole at his house in a stretch limousine and took him to the near by Mount Pleasant Fire Department where just a few hundred of his closest friends and family were waiting. It was overwhelming how many people came to show their support for Cole and his family. The red carpet was definitely rolled out for Cole. There were moments where there was not a single dry eye in the station. I would be lying if I told you the emotion didn’t get to me.
The Mount Pleasant Fire Department really made Cole feel like a member of the department. I personally was touched by how much was done for Cole. Mount Pleasant may be small but they love their people so much.
There were so many firsts for Cole and his family. We met at Charlotte Douglas at 7:30am on Friday, August 12th, for what would be the whole family’s first flight. For never being on a flight everyone did fantastic. I was sat next to Cole’s younger brother, Bryce, who I affectionally called Bruce. Bruce and I had the best time together even if he wanted my window seat. We don’t all get what we want. He took my seat on the way back and looked out the window the whole trip home to Charlotte.
Before leaving I talked to several Boston Red Sox fans about the trip. Each one of them talked about the first time they entered Fenway. For each of these people it was a memorable moment seeing the field for the first time. Hearing these stories led me to make sure I took Cole’s photo while we walked in the park.
It may not be the most memorable or meaningful photo for some but for a Red Sox fan it means a lot.
There is something so romantic about baseball. It is so closely tied to American history. You can’t separate baseball from America. To see a game in one of the many great American ballparks is something to be treasured. Most new stadiums are modern marvels of engineering and technology. These parks don’t have the soul that Fenway has.
If you are a baseball fan, regardless of whether you are a Sox fan, go to Fenway and experience all the feels. Sing Sweet Caroline with the crowd, eat a Fenway Frank, hug a stranger after a ball flies over the Big Green Monster and know that you will never forget your first game in Fenway. Baseball is more than a sport it is America.
The Lumley Family & the Dream Team
I get all mushy about baseball but I walk away from this experience with 5 new friends. Those people are Jennifer, Cole, Taylor, Bruce (Bryce) and Hannah. So much happened in Boston. We ate a lot of great food, we went to the aquarium, we went on a Duck Boat Tour, we stayed at a great hotel, we laughed a lot, we picked on each other, for some reason there was a lot of dabbing, but by the end we all became friends. If we would not have been able to meet David Ortiz it would not have made the trip any less special or memorable. The experiences we had far exceeded the time we got to spend with Big Papi. It won’t be the moments we spent getting autographs in a hallway that I will look back fondly at, but the Lumley family that I will treasure. We at Dream On 3 love to grant sports dreams, but it is the relationships with the families that I love even more.
I would rather hang out with Cole Lumley any day over David Ortiz. Bruce can come to if he wants. Okay, the whole family can come.
I never want to just take pictures for Dream on 3, but I want to be part of making the dream better. It is my job to capture the day in a photo, which I love. I want to look back on my life and know that I impacted lives. It is not my job to pay my bills and die.
Sometimes things happen during a trip that you could never expect. One of my first dreams we gave the athlete a ride home. Sometimes we get to spend a whole day with the athlete, meet a hall of fame member while eating lunch or even run through a fountain in the middle of Boston. Some of us decided to spend more time in the water than others but a wonderful time was had by all. These are my favorite photos. Not because they are necessarily the best images, but because of the story attached to each. It is rare that my favorite image is anyone else’s. The Lumley family has and will always have a very special place in my heart because of 5 very hot days in August.
The is the best job I’ve ever had because I’m Livin’ the Dream with Dream on 3.