Senior woman standing up from wheelchair with young woman supporting her and Hickory Crawdads mascot Conrad the Crawdad

Grant a Dream™: For Love of the Game

(September 28, 2022) – Some passions appear early in life. Others develop a bit later, inspired by the people we spend our time with. For Lois Hall, a skilled nursing resident at Abernethy Laurels, her busy family and work life didn’t permit a lot of extracurricular activities. It wasn’t until she  retired in 1988 that she had a chance to sit down with her husband and enjoy Major League Baseball on TV. Tapping into his love of the game and learning the rules and players, she quickly became a fan, and the two of them spent many a happy hour enjoying the action and the competition.

young woman with blonde hair kneels beside senior woman in wheelchair at hickory crawdads baseball game

Lois Hall (right) with activities assistant Abby Crowder

Even after her husband passed away, Lois kept up the habit, partly as a way to recall the good times spent with him and partly because the excitement of the game took hold in her blood. Her favorite team is the Atlanta Braves, and her favorite player is Austin Riley, the Braves’ 25-year-old third baseman. Finding a kindred spirit in Abernethy Laurels’ activities assistant Abigail Crowder, Lois often talks to her about the latest game or any sort of gossip related to the ball club. She’s wholeheartedly invested in the Braves and faithfully watches every game (unless she happens to fall asleep!). When she found out that Abigail had actually gone to a game in Atlanta, Lois couldn’t get enough of the photos and videos on Abigail’s phone. She confessed that she’d never been able to attend an MLB game herself and had only been to one minor league game: the Hickory Crawdads.

With that in mind, Abigail reached out to the EveryAge Foundation to see if the Grant a Dream™ program would help Lois attend a Crawdads game when the local team played the Rome Braves, Atlanta’s minor league affiliate. With a little behind-the-scenes effort, the outing was planned, and some 20 staff members from Abernethy Laurels took Lois to L.P. Frans Stadium to enjoy the action during the Rome Braves’ five-game visit to Hickory. There, she threw out the first pitch with the crowd cheering her on, met the team, took a photo with Conrad the Crawdad and one of the coaches, and watched with delight from the stands with the Abernethy crew.

As part of the baseball game experience, Lois also munched on a cheeseburger and enjoyed Dippin’ Dots to combat the heat. To commemorate the game, she got a Crawdads tee shirt and a Braves tee-shirt, showing no partiality to any one team. Although she left in the seventh inning with the rest of the gang (just before the Crawdads hammered out a 5-4 win), nothing could mute Lois’s sheer pleasure at watching America’s game in person and with the support of so many fans and staff members. Reflecting on the events of the evening with a smile on her face, she said quietly, almost to herself, “It was very exciting. I had a wonderful time.”

The power of dreams is that each person defines what his or hers looks like. And while some people yearn for exotic destinations and wild spectacle, others find the utmost satisfaction in simple evenings spent among friends. The Grant a Dream™ program is privileged to fulfill both kinds, taking special delight in its devotion to renew a personal passion like baseball and to nurture joy along the way.

For more details about the mission of Grant a Dream™ and the variety of fulfillment opportunities – which are available to residents, participants, and tenants at all EveryAge communities – contact Kim Kilday, Chief Marketing Officer, at [email protected] or at 828.465.8014. Grant a Dream™ is proudly funded by the EveryAge Foundation.

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