A Man Without a Fantasy

Three years ago the Arizona Diamondbacks held their inaugural fantasy camp allowing fans to take the field with some of the teams greatest former players. At the time I was recovering from my third shoulder surgery and for a solid week I moped around the house lamenting the fact that I was sitting with my arm in a sling when I should be in Tucson playing baseball with the players I had been watching for the previous seven seasons. I am sure Trina and the kids were exceedingly grateful when fantasy camp was finally over so I would quit whining about not being able to participate. I vowed that I would return from this injury and be rehabilitated to the point where I would be able to participate the following year.

All during the 2006 season I kept hinting to Trina how much I would love to go to fantasy camp in January. Subtlety has never been my strong suit so Trina had to endure eleven continuous months of me talking about how much it would me to me to be able to go to Tucson and participate. When the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that they would be changing their color scheme for the 2007 moving away from purple and turquoise to a color palette of Sedona Red, Black, and Sonoran Sand I was devastated but the one bright spot was that those attending the 2007 Fantasy Camp would be the first players who would don the new uniforms. I just had to be among that group. After all, my family had long ago concluded that I was by far the largest Arizona Diamondbacks fan on the planet (this distinction is not measured by volume I might add). How then could they justify not sending me away to camp? When Christmas morning arrived I eagerly jumped out of bed and ran downstairs. I had put in a lot of hard work this past year getting my arm back in shape. I even went as far as putting my Harley Davidson motorcycle in storage for a whole year for fear that I might aggravate my rehabilitating labrum setting me back. I just knew that my family had somehow found a way to send me to camp. But after all the gifts were opened I found myself the owner of a new Diamondbacks jersey but I did not have an invitation to fantasy camp. My heart sank at the thoughts of a second year where I would have to endure the idea that I would not be out on the field with other Diamondbacks fans.

Beginning in January 2007 I again set out to educate my wife and kids about how much an invitation to 2008 Diamondbacks Fantasy Camp would mean. It didn’t matter what the subject was in any family conversation I somehow was able to insert a comment about how it related to fantasy camp. Surely they would finally understand how important this was to me to be included in this annual event. To paraphrase a line from the movie Airplane, they were aware of how important it was for me to go to fantasy camp and don’t call them Shirley. Shortly before last Thanksgiving Trina requested that me and each of the kids create a Christmas list so that she had gift ideas going into the holiday season. I decided not to take any chances. I took out a piece of paper and numbered seven lines. I figured since there were seven in our family Trina probably needed a gift idea for each person. Next to these numbered lines I wrote what I wanted for Christmas. When I was complete I handed the paper to Trina. She unfolded the paper and read it before commenting, “You wrote 2008 Diamondbacks Fantasy Camp seven times.” I really didn’t see the problem with that. I figured my odds of winning would increase if I kept entering. Trina then explained that Christmas was not some sort of sweepstakes where no purchase was necessary and that I was not allowed to enter as often as I wanted. Still I was hopeful that she had gotten the message that really all I wanted was to be included in the Diamondbacks fantasy camp. So as Christmas morning arrived my heart was once again filled with anticipation and hope that somehow my dreams would be realized and I would be a “happy camper”. But at the end of the day I was once again filled with the realization that I would once again not be counted among those who were going to camp.

This week faithful Diamondbacks fans who have loving families are gathered in Tucson to participate in this year’s version of fantasy camp. There are enough fans in attendance that they have divided into six teams. They have full use of the Diamondbacks Spring Training facility at Tucson Electric Park including training facilities. Each camper arrived to find a Diamondbacks locker with their name on it. In the locker were two Diamondbacks uniforms with their names stitched on the back. Dressed just like the players they took the field and for five wondrous days they are living every Diamondbacks fan’s dream. They are playing alongside some of the most famous and most colorful former Diamondbacks players. I can’t put into words what that would mean. Every season for the past 10 years I have religiously followed this team. I have attended nearly every game and have been there to witness every post season game ever played in Diamondbacks history. To be able to take the field dressed in a full Diamondbacks uniform would be the ultimate. So for the third straight year I will try to keep a stiff upper lip and hide the disappointment I am feeling by not being there. One day I’ll figure out a combination of honey-do items and carefully placed hints that will let my family know how much this would mean to me. I guess the one positive I can gain from this disappointment is the fact that when it finally does happen and I am able to attend fantasy camp I will have a better appreciation of how special it will be. I only hope I am still young enough to enjoy it.

1 Comment

  1. Maybe a Fund Raiser?

    You know it’s kind of funny. When we moved to Arizona one of the big things that everyone told us was how great the school systems were and that we would be amazed at the level of education that our…

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