An East Texas boy is heading to Baltimore for a weekend of baseball with the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation. William Finley is one of 24 winners in an essay contest who were asked "why they want to be like their father." His words won him the trip of a lifetime.
The essay started with something William's mother told him a while ago. "Dads come in all shapes, sizes and colors. When my mom and dad divorced, I was very young. Because he did not live with us anymore, my mom had to be both mom and dad."
When the Boys and Girls Club asked for entries for the "Dad's Day At The Yard" essay contest, William wasn't sure how to answer the question. He hasn't seen much of his dad since his parents divorced in 2001.
"When we were driving to the ball park, on the way to the game, we started talking about it," William said.
His mother, Gay, remembers how William told her he wanted to write about her. "He looked over and said, 'I wishI could write about you. You're the one that takes me to all my sport activities,'" said Gay.
Out of that conversation, the winning letter emerged. In it, William talks about all his mother has done for him over the years. "My mom has taught me how to ride a bike, coach my basketball team, and helped me build winning pine derby race cars."
William's mother bought him his first baseball glove when he was just four years old, and the two have been playing ball ever since. He knows his mother does more for him than just toss the ball around. "She gives me shelter, a home, and all of the things thatI need. She's very special to me," said William.
Gay said hearing what William wrote about her eased concerns she had in the back of her mind. She said, "That was just blessing for me to see his perspective, because you really don't know how well adjusted your kid is until something like this comes up."
Over Father's Day Weekend, William and Gay are heading to Baltimore for a baseball clinic with Billy Ripken. They're also going to a Yankees-Nationals game. It's a trip most eleven-year-old boys could only dream about. Because of the words William wrote about his mother, it's a memory the two of them will share forever.