I'm a firm believer in the old adage "good things happen to good people." And the US military veterans who have been granted a whole week at baseball fantasy camp are a prime example. The seven guys, all wounded while serving our country, will spend seven days shagging balls and catching flies with members of the Chicago White Sox organization this month. I can't think of a better group for the gig, can you?
After all, what do sports teams and the US military have in common?
They're both built upon the concept of camaraderie and working together. Which is exactly why the folks at Salute, a non-profit which traditionally provides financial support for military men and women, threw this whole thing together. This is a little out of the ordinary for Salute, but they say it's a perfect fit because fantasy campers get to gain the feeling of a team that the wounded vets are missing now that they're away from their unit.
Just like in the military, baseball players have to work in unison to achieve their mission -- in this case, winning a game. And on the flip side, they all enjoy in successes. As the military's recruitment literature reminds potential servicemembers, one of the advantages to service is membership in a large family with a "proud history." The same goes for a baseball team, with the stories of past players and past championships in the clubhouse.
Not to mention, you take a bunch of guys who were wounded and taken out of their day to day and put them on a baseball field, and you help them feel young, alive, and vital again. They can still have fun with this body!
Playing with former Sox who will serve as coaches and instructors and current stars at the team's spring training facility in Glendale, Arizona, the vets would have to pay $4,000. Instead, with backing from the White Sox, the vets' trip to Cambelback Ranch in Arizona from the Chicago area is being funded by a mix of corporate and private donors, plus the folks at Salute (who are open to donations from anyone who wants to help sponsor a vet's trip).
Check out vets getting ready for their big trip:
Can you think of a better group of guys to get this once-in-a-lifetime sports experience?
Image via Saluteinc1/YouTube