It is not everyday that you learn baseball from the Red Sox coach at Fenway Park!

NEWS | | July 9, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Last year I was invited to be part of the CVS Caremark All Kids Can program, sadly my daughter fell ill so it fell through. This year though I was excited to be part of it. As a mom to a kid with Autism, I knew that this program was close to my heart.


What is the CVS Caremark All Kids Can Program ?

(this from CVS Caremark)

Kids come in all shapes, sizes and abilities. Please share your experiences and personal stories to raise awareness and help children of all abilities to learn, play and succeed in life. At CVS Caremark, we believe that ALL KIDS CAN!
The goals of All Kids Can are to raise awareness in schools and in local communities about the importance of inclusion; build barrier-free playgrounds so children of all abilities can play side-by-side; and provide medical rehabilitation and related services to children with disabilities. CVS Caremark All Kids Can™, a program of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and supported by CVS Caremark, is a commitment to making life easier for children with disabilities. We support nonprofit organizations that provide innovative programs and services in local communities focused on helping children of all abilities learn, play and succeed in life.
Fenway is something that is the heart and soul of Boston so whether you are a die-hard fan of Boston’s Red Sox or not, you would have heard about Fenway. Normally I would be hesitant to take my daughter to a sports clinic because I would worry about “keeping up” with the pace and we have, as a family, steered away from events that we feel may be highly stressful. She is nowhere near the play level as other kids her age but this Spring she did join a “regular” soccer camp which was a big move for us. Although she seemed “lost” for some part, she kept up decently and it was a supportive environment. I expected that supportive environment for the All Kids Can day as well since I knew there would be other kids with varying disabilities in attendance.
Still, I was nervous. Being anxious is what I do best and have had 7 years of experience of feeling that I am walking on eggshells so I approached Fenway with much trepidation but intent of making it a memorable day. While one never wishes for rain on the day of a game, you never want a scorcher of a day too. The heat added to my “worry” bag that was already bulging since I knew the fluctuation in temperature bothers her quite a bit. We started the day meeting several “players” and members of press, and then we headed to the dug out. I am sure you all know “baseball-speak” but for those 2 people on the planet who don’t, the “dug-out” is where the players wait their turn. This was our base for the day. Now spoilt me would have assumed that these players would be sitting in some air conditioned room (I hope my husband does not read this or he may start on the “it’s not that hot” lecture again) but I see the players roughing it like the crowd.
Of course there is a little room behind it and if you’re thinking that maybe the air conditioner would be there, you would be wrong too, but what they did have there was a giant fan. As big as it was, it was no air conditioner, so I will take a blogger’s life any day (as I type this I have the AC churning away, and thank heaven hubby is traveling this week). Today we were joined by players from Braintree and other towns in the greater Boston region, including Abington, Ashland, Dorchester, Hanover, Hanson, Hull, Milton, South Boston, Stoughton and Weymouth.  This was the eighth season of the All Kids Can Baseball Camps in partnership with the Red Sox. I love that children of every ability across New England gets to experience Fenway.
You would think a visit on the field would suffice, but it is a ball park and meant to be played on. The Red Sox Coach Madagan provided hitting tips and instruction in the Red Sox batting tunnel and on-field batting practice too. Even my 5 year old got in on the action. Point to be noted that maybe her being left-handed helped her hit those balls because she totally surprised me. While my 7 year old still struggled to find her groove she did not let it deter her and gave it her all. I knew they were loving every minute of it when they enthusiastically volunteered to go in again for another round. The 105 degree Fahrenheit weather did make the kiddos take several breaks though and let’s just say that huge fan I mentioned was  popular attraction.
We were excited to meet Wally the Green Monster mascot and he obliged us with a picture. Then Red Sox player Mike Aviles came on to meet with the kids and help the kids with their batting skills too. I loved how supportive he was with the kids and when the kid missed the ball, he blamed it on the pitcher. Lunch followed and then the kids were presented with backpacks of goodies including an awesome baseball and CVS giftcards.My kids loved having their first real baseball. Kids were hot, tired yet happy. We opted out of the tour of Fenway, as the weather began to beat upon her body and I knew we were going to be joining in for the game later where the Red Sox were playing against Miami. Some may say I missed an amazing opportunity but life with (special needs) kids taught us that we would rather walk than run through life. Pacing ourselves and setting realistic goals made for a happier family.
We headed home to shower (our 2nd one for the day already thanks to the humidity), freshen up and take dad along with us for the game. I got a nasty scratch on my car on a garage wall earlier in the day so we opted for taking the subway into the city this time. Super smart idea! While we explained the game to my kids it was indeed a very special memory for us too. Hubby who is the reluctant entertainment guy was totally loving the entire experience. My daughter’s inborn need to be part of a crowd was satisfied each time they did the “wave”. She loved it. In fact we all did.
Thank you CVS Caremark for thinking All Kids Can. I know mine certainly can!

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