I noticed that although he always had a mitt, I had never seen either a ball or a
bat. I smiled as I realized he didn’t need them. He had everything he needed for
the perfect game. Something to receive the imaginary ball. The voice to thank
his adoring fans. The persistence of a seasoned ballplayer on a hot summer day.
And last, but not least, the ability to see the whole thing in a way I never could.
Because on that night, and dozens more since then, I have seen the same thing
happen. A man-boy with a leather glove and a field of fireflies believes that he is
victorious. ~ Passage from “Honeysuckles and Fireflies” –Norris’ story
Every now and then, we are fortunate enough to come across a story about a unique individual
who, without even knowing it, profoundly touches our lives in powerful ways. Several months
ago, we at The Good in Sports found such a story and individual and what happened next was
Through the exquisite writing of Angie Smith, author of the blog “Bring on the Rain,” we
and hundreds of others around the country were introduced to Norris, a 32 year old man with
Down syndrome who loves the Atlanta Braves and lives for baseball. Angie’s narrative on
Norris shows us a very special kid at heart whose fierce love of the game teaches us that
greatness comes from within and that winning is a mindset as much as it is an outcome. We
were incredibly moved by both Norris’ heart and his unwavering passion for America’s favorite
The Good in Sports wanted to do something special. We learned that Norris’ dream was to
one day play with the Atlanta Braves. What began as a simple quest to try to get a very special
Braves fan an official jersey, blossomed into something bigger than we could have ever hoped
for. We reached out to the Atlanta Braves and they reached back with big hearts and extreme
generosity. The Braves invited Norris and his family to Atlanta for an exclusive experience with
When Norris and his family arrived at Turner Field, they were brought down to the field to take
batting practice with the team. Atlanta Braves infielder Brooks Conrad presented Norris with
his very own official jersey with his name on it and welcomed him to the team. For this day,
Norris was an Atlanta Brave. While on the field, Norris met Rookie of the Year contender Craig
Kimbrel, Dan Uggla, and Martin Prado, who gave Norris one of his wristbands. Following
batting practice, Norris and his family experienced a behind the scenes tour of the stadium and
then enjoyed a great win by the Braves as they defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-1. Norris
was in the stands when one of his favorite players, Dan Uggla, hit two homeruns.
The Braves made one very special fan’s lifelong dream come true and gave him an experience
he will never forget. Norris was an Atlanta Brave and, on that day, a star. It was a priceless
gift and a spectacular reward for someone whose childlike innocence, determination, love of the
game, and belief in himself is an inspiration to ballplayers of all ages.
Copyright © 2011 The Good in Sports, Inc. All rights reserved.