Memories on Memorial Day A soldier’s story, a family’s grief Thank You for your sacrifice Seaman community honors local veterans with special tribute Former PES teacher dies in tragic accident All County Senior Citizens Day celebrated Parks signs with SSCC Soccer Senior Profile: Lexie Bunn Jessie Rodgers Memorial Day services set for county Truly our greatest generation Bertha Lashley Maia Swartz Jessie Rodgers Errors spell the end of Devils’ baseball season Senior Profile: Carry Hayslip Lady Hounds’ season ends with tourney loss to Paint Valley North Adams hosts Youth Volleyball Camp Time to get “Stroke Savvy” OVCTC, GE host Community Service Day 65 years in the pulpit Jamison, Richmond, Minshew conquer second race of 2017 Brushcreek season Manchester’s Cox signs with Rio basketball program Senior Profile: Andrew Weeks A dozen SHAC champions Thomas D Lute Sandra F Schwab Turning something broken into something beautiful Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide One dead, two injured in ATV accident 2017 Graduation Ceremonies West Union Alumni and Friends Educational Fund announces 2017 Scholarship Awards TAG students tour Pennsylvania Commissioners proclaim Older Americans Month Building an anti-drug culture one t-shirt at a time SECTIONAL CHAMPIONS NAES students awarded Science Camp scholarships SSCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program celebrates graduation Bauman selected to National 4-H Congress Lois Pertuset Hazel Nixon Philip L Paeltz Manchester Youth Volleyball Camp begins May 30 Jase Thatcher Figgins’ walk-off winner sends North Adams to Division III sectional finals Lady Hounds top East 10-3 in sectional opener Commissioner Pell, union reps travel to DC Forgotten experience brings back good memories for WUHS seniors Gordon Boldman Local teen injured in jeep accident BCI Investigation underway Rick Arnold Happy Mother’s Day- Do you want food? Robert Hodge Melvin Tipton Lady Dragons Basketball Camp begins May 22 Lady Devils Basketball Camp is May 30-June 1 National Day of Prayer celebrated in county NAES students enjoy day at GABP Car strikes Amish buggy near Winchester Eldon J Shoenleben Farming out life lessons to children and parents Proposed Medicaid changes could cost Adams County millions Annual ‘Redneck Run” returns to Manchester May 13 They really were the best of times West Union hosts Junior High, High School County Track Meets Figgins signs with SSCC Soccer Perfect again! Senior Profile: Caley Grooms James T Hughes Anderson signs with Rio Grande Basketball Senior Profile: Miranda Schiltz Playing for Dad, Part II Lady Indians win SHAC Big School title Danny Bryant Sadie Stamm Franklin E Brayfield Softball, baseball tourney match ups announced Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall coming to Georgetown next week Southern Ohio Genealogical Society offers program on ‘Family History Sources at the Ohio History Center’ Joseph A Johnson Jr Kramer tosses two shutouts in five days Trip to Akron = two more wins for Lady Indians softball Devils blank Dragons in non-conference battle Meade twins part of Rio baseball program Playing for Dad Senior Profile: Madison Welch As Mr. Seas It, for ACOVSD High School graduates We stayed up all night with Bob Clean up of Manchester’s abandoned gas stations continues Ribbon cutting held for canoe/kayak access sites Columbus Industries donates driveway repair to Animal Shelter North Adams Elementary recognizes March Students of the Month Animal Shelter Adoption Center announces new hours of operation Major road construction planned for summer months West Union Elementary honors March Students of the Month Charles D Jordan Betty Ginn Pamela M Hampton Former county sheriff celebrates 80th birthday

The photo that took 12 years to take

I needed a vacation. It had been four years since I had any extended time away from work so I decided that this spring might be a good time to take on a trip that I have thought about for years. When I was a youngster, my parents took me to spring training in Florida every year (check the first column I ever wrote for this paper) and I have been debating a long time doing the same for my son. If I waited until I could actually afford it, we’d probably both be too old to enjoy it, so it was time to bite the bullet, make a little money off Ebay for the trip, and head south.

It’s no secret that my son is a huge New York Mets fan and that pretty much determined our destination. The Mets train in Port St. Lucie, Florida and after a Thursday morning flight out of Cincinnati, we found ourselves in the Orlando airport, renting a car and making the 90-minute drive towards the home of the Mets. Now before I continue, let me ask one thing about airline flights these days. I hadn’t flown for nearly 10 years so what’s up with the male stewardesses? Is that some kind of reverse equality thing?

After dinner at a sports bar the first night, of course, we made plans for the next morning and the trip to camp. I soon found out that spring training has changed considerably since the 1970s. I guess it is security, but access to players is nothing like it was in the good old days, but we didn’t let that deter us. You could watch the team’s morning workouts from behind a fence no more than 50 feet away so that wasn’t all bad. We then drove to a place called Viera, spring training home of the Washington Nationals, where I found out another 2016 training fact-the “star” players don’t make too many game appearances. Example-Bryce Harper batted once, took five pitches, was called out on strikes and disappeared. Likely had a golf game or a yacht trip on the agenda.

The next morning we were back at workouts and then to a Mets home game with the dastardly Cardinals in a packed stadium. I commented to Jordan that these Mets had gone from being nobodies a couple of years ago to rock stars now. There’s something oddly relaxing about just sitting back at a spring training game. Players seem to have much more fun with nothing really on the line and the minor leaguers trying to make the jump are interesting to watch.

All that was good and well, but in the back of my mind I was on this trip to try and make a dream come true for my son. If you have read previous columns, you know that his baseball hero and favorite player is David Wright so I was scheming the whole time to figure out a way to have Jordan meet #5, because I knew that would be his magic moment and one he would remember for a lifetime.

Well, when we went to the Sunday morning workout, I saw our opportunity. On normal days, the “regular” players take their batting and fielding practice inside the stadium, which is off limits to the public, another ridiculous change from the 70s. That meant that Wright would be out on the practice fields all morning and since there was not a real big crowd of fans I knew we had a shot, so as we watched the team loosen up, I told Jordan that we were following Wright wherever he went.

Unfortunately, Jordan took that a bit too literally when we spotted #5 heading into the bathroom. The day before I had actually had a nice conversation with one of the team’s top prospects in, yep you guessed it, the bathroom, so Jordan asked the security guard if he could go get a drink from a fountain that was of course, adjacent to the potty. He made it just as Wright was exiting so all he managed was quick “What’s up” as #5 headed to the field.

All the time I am taking a good look at the surroundings and figuring out how Wright was going to get from one place to the next and I placed Jordan on a sidewalk that led from one field to another where he managed to get a fist bump from #5 as he moved to a different field. I then heard Wright tell a young lady that he would sign autographs as soon as he got his running in and I knew that the magic moment was close. so again I put Jordan in a strategic spot and I was absolutely right.

When Wright exited the field, there was Jordan waiting for him and asking him to sign his baseball. I knew that wouldn’t be the end of it so I began to back away and get my camera ready for the picture that a kid had been waiting 12 years to get. I couldn’t mess this one up because I knew there may never be another chance. Luckily, the bright Florida sky provided the perfect lighting and there it was, my son standing next to his baseball hero and I had to capture the moment and baby I nailed it! In that brief moment, I took the best picture I have ever taken in my life and in a few fleeting seconds felt like the “Father of the Year.” Finally, Jordan meets David Wright and we have the photographic evidence. (On top of that, Wright even signed a baseball card for me.)

That is the neat thing about baseball, it can always be a father and son shared experience and I will never forget the four days that I was able to take Jordan to his baseball heaven on earth and I was able to capture the moment that had been 12 years in the making. It was him and his hero, though I hope that maybe I got a little bit of hero in his eyes out of that one. In “The Lion King,” they sing about the “Circle of Life” and one was completed for me last weekend. From my Dad and me to my son and me, it just never gets any better than that.

http://www.peoplesdefender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_Wright.jpg

Mark Carpenter

Sports Editor

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