By Bonnie Berg
I can’t believe it’s already been a few weeks since we returned from Cooperstown, NY. The last load of laundry has finally been folded and put away. We are back to school and following our normal routines. However, the memories made on this trip will last forever.
My son’s baseball team worked long and hard for the last five years to make it to Cooperstown. We were excited to finally say, “Cooperstown Dream Park, here come the New Castle Yankees!”
In preparing for our trip, we used the unofficial “parent’s guide to Cooperstown” amassed by parents who had “been there done that”. The guide included a long list of to do’s, and an even longer list of clothing and items needed for the five night stay. Unfortunately, for many, this packing came on the heels of the tedious unpacking and endless loads of laundry from seven weeks of sleep away camp. However, there is no amount of packing, unpacking or laundry that could have put a damper on this once in a lifetime experience for these boys!
On Friday morning, August 26th, my son Evan and our family headed to the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, NY. The Otesaga would be our home for the next five nights. We were pleasantly surprised by the old world castle looking exterior, beautiful pool, well appointed rooms, and hearty breakfast served each morning. After all, why should just the boys and coaches have all the fun bonding in the bunks of the barracks at the park? This was our vacation too. 🙂
So, like many other parents and siblings, we took advantage of all that the town and hotel had to offer. Long walks, shopping in town, pedal boats, canoes, and of course, a trip to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame!
As for the baseball, the New Castle Yankees with their coaches and banner in tow marched the field of opening ceremonies on Saturday, August 27th. What followed was an amazing four days of baseball, with two games a day, as the sun shined down overhead. Many of us bought big umbrellas that looked like baseballs-at times the sun was unbearable. Imagine what it was like for our boys? But they were so happy to be there, playing what they loved, that they did not seem affected by the heat at all!
In terms of results, there were some losses and one win. But, most memorable to me were the smiles on the boys faces. Needless to say, what happens in the barracks, stays in the barracks boys! Luckily, the amount of Cooperstown swag was abundant, that will help keep the unforgettable memories alive and vibrant for months to come.
The true magic of the team and the trip is evidenced in many of the emails that circulated upon our return home…
The coaches wrote
“The many losses and large amount of runs allowed were by far surpassed by the smiles, laughs and lifetime memories for all of us. Aside from some emotions in the heat of the battle, these 12 laughed the entire time. This experience surpassed my expectations and I hope all of yours.”
“The experiences in the bunk were great, I think I laughed harder than the boys several times during the trip. There was some late night comments (all in jest) about baseball plays where nothing and no one was off limits. I thought it showed that they cared about the wins and losses but not nearly as much as the experience and the camaraderie they have have developed. Noah too slept with his bat last night. He actually got a little emotional after the dinner, thinking about how this may be coming to an end. But for the first time in a while I think he actually listened to me, I told him these boys/team are life long friends, you guys have a bond not many others do. This is only the beginning…”
The moms wrote
“What a great testament to our week together. I love that the boys were able to have this amazing experience with you four leading the pack!! Over the years when we talked about Cooperstown I was a little internally bummed that this would replace my annual family vacation at the jersey shore in 2016 But wow, this was an even more special “family” vacation with my baseball family!! What an amazing feeling to be part of something so meaningful. Ben said last night when he went to sleep it was the best week ever !! That means everything to me.”
“i asked mikey if he was psyched to sleep in his bed — he said absolutely not!!! rather be in the bunk! ”
The dads wrote
” I couldn’t be prouder of our team or happier that Joe fell in with the right group of guys. P.S. Joe slept in his bed last night cradling his new engraved wood bat.”
“Daniel said that this week was the best week of his life, and he’s saying that because of the friendship and the camaraderie, in addition to the baseball. This is truly a team in every sense of the word, and the kids were so unbelievably supportive of each other. That comes from the coaches, who set the tone from the beginning.”
I am so thankful to all of my son’s teammates, coaches, friend’s parents and their siblings for sharing “the field of dreams” with Evan. Cooperstown, NY is where big dreams can and do come true!