Camper is Living Out his Fantasy (Camp)
Tom Sell is finally getting to play with his Christmas present.
The 67-year-old Overland Park man is one of 72 campers attending the Royals 2007 Alumni Fantasy Camp in Surprise, Ariz. For Tom, the week-long camp is a Christmas present from his son, Steve, who decided to top the gift off by making it a father-son event. Although Tom unwrapped the gift in December, he’s already admitting that the wait to “play” with it was totally worth it – and it’s only the first day!
“It was the last Christmas present I opened and I can’t imagine a better one,” Tom says. “When he handed me this scrapbook of all these great baseball-related memories we had had together, I was already getting emotional. Then, when I got to that last page of the booklet and saw that we were going to the Fantasy Camp together, it just blew me away.”
As long-time season ticket holders, the Sell family has witnessed several monumental Royals events, including the park’s first Opening Day, George Brett’s first and last games in a uniform and even a trip to Cooperstown in 1999 when Brett was inducted. However, attending Fantasy Camp with many of his baseball heroes is topping his list of dreams come true.
“We have a lot of great memories with the Royals and now, this just adds to that. I always thought it’d be neat to go to the Fantasy Camp, but never thought I’d actually do it. I kind of thought I might be getting too old, but I guess Steve didn’t think so. Now that we are down here, I’m glad he didn’t!”
The campers arrived in Surprise on Sunday and immediately attended a Super Bowl party that included getting to know their famous coaches. As great as that was, Tom said he wasn’t prepared for how awesome walking into that clubhouse Monday morning was going to be.
“I haven’t suited up in a baseball uniform since high school when I used to play catcher," Tom adds. "So, walking into that clubhouse today and seeing that uniform at my locker, well, there is nothing like it. It’s all pretty overwhelming actually. Without sounding too corny, I feel like I’m in a fantasy.”
The morning was spent with workouts, instruction and batting practice, all part of what Tom referred to as “limbering up.”
“I’m not sure how good I’m going to be or if my sore back is going to make it or not, but I am already enjoying every minute of this!”
Like many of the campers, Tom is just trying to soak up every moment. He’s looking forward to jumping in a game, even putting on the catcher’s gear and seeing what happens. But, another goal he and his son have is a little more specific to the Sell family. Nine Christmas’ ago, Steve welcomed a son, conveniently, but not coincidentally, named George, into the family.
“We are going to try and get George (Brett) to call Steve’s son, George, sometime this week. It’ll be a great surprise for our George.”
Just another Royals moment to add to the Sell family scrapbook!