Before First Pitch.
Imagine being 10 years-old. Being chosen by your favourite Major League Baseball team to throw out the first pitch before a game. As a baseball fan, and as someone with aspirations to make it to the majors, 10 year-old me would have been over the moon with joy and excitement. Of course, within, I would also be over-thinking about all of the scenarios ... What pitch would I throw? It's gotta be a fastball, right? What if I miss the plate? Big league players are watching, my friends and teammates are watching, there's a huge crowd watching, hundreds of thousands of viewers are watching.
To this 10 year-old athlete who plays baseball both competitively for the Newmarket Baseball Association 11U AAA team, and through the Jays Care Foundation Affiliate School Program – where he is seen as a leader in Challenger baseball and who has built confidence, courage, and deepened connections with teammates – Jordan Gomes, of Canadian Martyrs Catholic Elementary School, had that opportunity.
If you've ever wondered what it's like to be in grade 5 and to walk into the stadium, get a chance to walk the hallways that the players walk, pass through the tunnels and the batting cages, pop out near the dugout, and see Major League players pass only a foot or two away, walk out to the mound with tens of thousands of fans in the stadium cheering you on, here are some behind-the-scenes photos of what it is like to get a chance of a lifetime and throw out the first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game.
"What an amazing experience! I’m Jordan’s mom and let me tell you how incredibly grateful our family is to @bluejays @jayscare for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Jordan loves baseball and being able to play this sport has provided him with many opportunities to develop socially with his peers and build his confidence! We are forever thankful for this amazing experience!!!"
photography: Lee Hon Bong for Jays Care Foundation
words: Lee Hon Bong