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Rongey: Sox (Fantasy) Camp, Day Three

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By Chris Rongey–

Holy crap, we won a game

There was a strong chance the OBI’s were going to finish the first 3 days without a single win, but after starting 0-5, everything fell into place in the second game of the day (we’ll just completely bypass the events in game one as you probably already know what happened).  With a game tied at 5 in the bottom of the 7th (fantasy camp games last 7 innings), our leadoff hitter, Ryan Schilling, reached base to start the inning and 5 innings later, his brother John drove him in for the game winner.  You would’ve thought we won the World Series.  Tom Paciorek couldn’t believe it.  Kittle remained even, like he always does.  We aren’t good.  At least, not yet.

Never gets old for me to hear the stories of how it came to be that each individual is part of the fantasy camp.  As I’ve said, a good number of the fortunate campers have been here several years, often consecutively but then there are those that are here for the first time.  On the way back to the hotel today, one of the campers, a retired firefighter from the northwest suburbs, told me the story of how he ended up here in Glendale.

Last year, his wife and children gathered at his home for Father’s Day to present him with a Father’s Day card as they wore Sox jerseys and played “Kiss Him Goodbye” in the background.  Nothing seemed strange while reading the card until they handed him a birthday card (it wasn’t his birthday).  And then a Christmas card (it was June).  And finally a retirement card that read something to the effect of, “Old firefighters don’t fade away, they just go to fantasy camp.”  Eventually, he realized that all of them were sending him to Glendale.  He admitted he cried when he got it and told me he tears up a bit when he talks about the gift.  It isn’t cheap, and some people will save for months to be able to do it.  And to them, it’s worth every penny.

It truly is an experience of a lifetime, and I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to be guest to camp the last two years as it’s something I never really ever thought I’d do.  If I’m lucky enough, maybe I’ll make it three.

Playoffs tomorrow and somehow we can still make the championship game.  We’re gonna run the table.