Boyhood Dreams Come True

Pirates Camp 

To say that my husband is a baseball fan is a bit of an understatement.  You know that seasonal affective disorder where people get depressed during the winter months? I believe my husband has a touch of baseball affective disorder.  He looks forward to opening day the way a child looks forward to Christmas morning.  He watches our local Pittsburgh Pirates and is a season ticket holder.  He has coached our children’s baseball and softball teams.  He plays on two adult baseball leagues.  When I first met him, he played up to four nights a week in local softball leagues.  He reads the Major League Baseball rule book every year ‘for fun’.  Even with all these details, I still find it hard to convey just how much he truly loves baseball in a few sentences. He eats, sleeps and breathes baseball.

Last year, I surprised my husband by signing him up for the Pittsburgh Pirates Fantasy Camp. He was an amazing husband and he was particularly wonderful while I was battling cancer.  This is a gift I wanted to give him.  The year before the camp had filled up so there were no spots available.  This year, I was determined to get him on that roster.  I contacted the man in charge and found out that there was one spot available.  I know God held that spot open for him. After all the details were finalized, I sent him on a scavenger hunt around our local area with clues that ended up here in our home where he was presented with the welcome letter for fantasy camp.

He couldn’t sleep the night before.  He was too excited.  He arrived at PNC Park and found a uniform hanging in the locker room with his name on the back along with his number, #9.  He sent me a picture from his phone.  The kids and I drove down to see him play his first game. He was suited up in a major league uniform, out on the field, ready to play the game he loved since he was a little boy.  I don’t think the smile ever left his face.

He was living his dream.  He played second. He played third. He played short stop.  He even had a chance to pitch from the pitcher’s mound at PNC Park. He had good hits. He made good plays.  He dove. He got his uniform dirty. He had an injury badge of honor. He was so happy.  I was so happy for him.

He had so much fun, he went again this year.  Although the second time around may not have been quite as ‘magical’, he still had an amazing time.  I got to watch him play again but this time, I was able to focus on the big picture. The year before, I don’t think I took my eyes off of him.  This year, I could watch the game, watch all the players and take in the whole experience.

These were all grown men. They had all lived a lot of ‘life’. They had families – wives, children, some had grandchildren. They had careers. They were strong.  They were heads of households, heads of departments, heads of companies. That following Monday, they would all go back to their mountain of responsibilities but until then, they could live out their childhood dreams. They were a million things but tonight, they were all just little boys playing the game of baseball. Like special effects in a movie, I could easily imagine the little boy inside each of those grown men, standing out there in a uniform way too big for them. I felt so blessed being able to sit there and watch those men, especially my husband, out on that field. We were all part of something very special. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Author: Jennifer Lilley Collins

I'm a Mom, wife, daughter, and friend navigating life with metastatic breast cancer while finding joy in the everyday and spreading hope, love, and inspiration along the way.

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