Last weekend, with the help of a very generous soul, we were able to check off number 2 on his bucket list. My husband and I surprised him last Sunday with a shih tzu puppy who he named Penny. She has been such a blessing and brought so much joy and happiness in our home. The entire Mac Pac has quickly fallen in love with her. As I have been telling everyone, she is definitely good for the soul!
This past weekend Camden got to check off TWO MORE on his bucket list, number 1(to meet a baseball player) and number 6 (to go to a Texas Rangers game)! It was honestly one of the best weekends our family has had in a very long time!!!
A sweet family friend, Roxanne, saw Camden's bucket list and got in touch with a friend she knows that currently works for the Rangers, Sean Decker. A few days later she called me to let me know they had everything set up and arranged for us to not only attend a game but to meet a player and be put up in a hotel that evening after the game. Her and her daughters, Amber and Brooke, all helped pitch in to send us a gift card to pay our gas, food and travel expenses for the weekend. I spoke with Sean via phone and texts a few times before Saturday and he made sure to find out Camden's favorite player and give us all the information we would need for our trip. We could hardly wait to take the family and see Camden and all the kiddos faces! On Thursday, Camden and I went to Academy to get "Ranger Ready" for the game. We made sure to get everyone shirts and hats. He was so excited for Saturday to come! Little did he know what all would be happening for him...
Saturday finally arrived! We got up, packed our bags and excitedly put on our Ranger shirts and hats. We loaded up the mac pac, dropped Penny off with my sweet friend, Cynthia, then headed to Arlington, Texas! Once we arrived, we drove over to check into our hotel the Rangers booked for us. When we walked into our suite, there were four Easter baskets filled with goodies for all the kids along with a sweet card from the hotel manager wishing the family of Camden McAlpine a wonderful stay and weekend. That was so amazing. We unloaded our stuff, freshened up a bit and then headed over to Globe Life Park to meet Sean.
As soon as we saw the stadium the kids were already in awe of it. They couldn't wait to park and go inside. Sean was so awesome, he called the staff to open up parking right at the front for our family. We got out and started walking up to the stadium. Camden was excited but then suddenly got a worried look on his face. He gazed up at me with an apprehensive look and said, "Mom, that place is really high. That means we have to go up lots of stairs doesn't it?" Before I could respond he dropped his head down and sadly told me, "I can't do that." Ugh, that really crushed my heart. Sometimes I forget and just don't think. What does it feel like to see things we take for granted without disabilities as just another big obstacle? So I promised him that we'd either carry him or find an elevator, to not worry and enjoy it.
I called Sean who told us to meet him in the gift shop. He found us and told us we were going to all go up to his office. I quietly asked him if we would have to take many stairs because Camden couldn't do them and he confirmed we did need to. He lead us to the several flights of stairs that lead up towards his office that overlooks the field. Sean then asked Camden if he could put him on his shoulders and take him up the stairs. Camden didn't even hesitate to say yes. He was so kind and really touched my heart. Normally Camden doesn't like to show outsiders his weaknesses or let them help, but it was amazing how he instantly liked Sean and let him carry the load. We got up to his office and the kids were such a joy to watch as they looked out over his office at the view of the field. They couldn't believe they were at a real baseball park! Sean handed Camden an Elvis Andrus duffle bag filled with some bobble head players and other goodies. He sat and talked to us for a bit and really took the time to get to know our family.
Next Sean took ahold of Camden's hand and led us to a ramp that took us back down to the field. As we walked through the stadium he told Camden and the boys all about the team, field and events that take place in order to make a Rangers game happen. Camden was on cloud nine. I don't think the look of awe ever left his sweet little face. He ate it all up and hung on to every word Sean said to him.
I enjoyed just hanging back a bit, taking pics and letting him enjoy it all. Finally, the time had come to enter the field and go watch batting practice! Sean had arranged for Camden to be allowed on the field to watch the Rangers warm up at 4pm.
The "Oooos" and "Ahhhs" from all the kids were priceless!!! I felt like I was standing back watching a real life move unfold of a dream come true for Camden playing before my very eyes. My heart was so full. Without a second thought, Sean took hold of Camden's hand again and led him down the stairs out onto the field.
Being on the field with all the players was truly a magical experience even for myself. I have always loved watching baseball and going to games. I grew up loving Nolan Ryan, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, "Pudge" Rodriquez and many more of the goldie oldies who are now retired. I can only imagine what was going on in my son's mind being right there watching the team bat and warm up. Before we knew it the staff had Adrian Beltre come over to meet Camden. He was simply in awe... Definitely the sweetest thing ever to see. They presented him with a cased autographed Beltre baseball, a red Rangers hat, which he immediately replaced with the current one he had on, a foam finger and a wall sign for his room....more awesome goodies! He was especially proud of his autographed baseball. With each new player that came to meet him, he would shake their hand, talk to them and get a picture but wouldn't let anyone else autograph his ball. He said he already had the best name on there, haha. A few that really stuck out to me he met were Kevin Kouzmanoff who is number 6. He had Camden laughing showing him how cool he was because his age was on the back of his jersey!!! :) Then we got a treat getting to meet former player "Pudge" Rodriquez! Another player who especially made Camden's day was the Ranger's catcher, JP Arencibia. He met Cam, then took his picture with him and left. A few minutes later he reappeared and presented him with the batting gloves off his hands that he had been batting with and had written his jersey number on there for him. So awesome! Camden put that on immediately and refused to remove it. He was in heaven.
Due to field regulations, no one under age 5 was allowed to be on the field during batting practice. So Matt and I switched off a few times to be with Camden while the other stood back behind the netting in the first row with the littles. Ty and Jax were needless to say very upset they couldn't be out there in the action with their big bro. So when Ty's favorite player, Elvis Andrus, came over to meet him, he quickly asked the staff for another baseball to get his signature on. He got it signed, thanked him and then I took their photo. All of a sudden he turned around, walked over to the net and passed the ball back to Ty. "This is for you, Tylor!" My heart turned to mush and tears quickly filled my eyes. Man, that boy has the sweetest heart. The ball boy grabbed Jax one of the balls the team used during batting practice too so he wouldn't be left out. :)
After the players finished their warm up, Sean took Camden and our entire family to check out the Rangers dugout and take pics. Then he escorted us through the stadium giving us a tour of operations and showing us how and where everything takes place. It was really cool and very interesting to learn how much work is put into the games by so many. Next he took us up to the Jack Daniels Club where they had a table waiting and ready for our family to provide us dinner at their all you can eat buffet. He sat with us for a bit and visited before he had to return back to work before the game. It was one of the coolest days spent with such a neat and caring guy. We are so blessed and thankful for him and all he did to help Camden and make his dreams a reality. Sean Decker, you are a ROCK STAR!!!
Near the end of dinner our sweet boy looked up at us both and sweetly said, "Mom, Dad, thank you so much for bringing me here today and letting me go to a game and meet real players. I love you." Matt and I were both in tears. This boy...he is our heart. <3
With full bellies and happy hearts, we took off to our awesome seats on the 10th row on the third base side of home plate. We were ready to experience our first family Rangers Game! We bought our must have huge blue foam fingers, a pink ranger puppy for our princess Sofia and drinks for the crew. We sat back, put on our game faces and watched the Rangers PLAY BALL!!! :D It was a blast! We quickly got to know everyone around us. They felt like old friends by the second inning and were so wonderful with our kids. We cheered hard and wore our Cambo out. By 10pm he started to lay his head in Daddy's lap so we decided it was time to get him to bed. He was too tired to walk so I carried him out of the stadium. I held him so tightly and prayed thanks to God for this day. It was a good day. A day that will never be forgotten in his world nor in our hearts. Thank you so much, Texas Rangers, Sean Decker, Roxanne, Amber and Brooke. We love you all and the Rangers will forever be our favorite team! Any team that supports Team Camden are heros in our hearts.
For it's root, root, root for the home team, if they don't win it's a shame! For it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the old ball game!!! <3