The last time we visited with “The Little Presidents”, they were visiting sick children at INOVA Children’s Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia. We were told that the Nationals invited them for a visit to Nationals Park and they came through on the promise. What great timing that their special day was on Saturday which was Stanley Cup celebration day with a crowd of over 37,000. The Nationals finalized the date 2 1/2 weeks ago and certainly could have postponed them given the day had changed with the Washington Capitals in attendance. Luckily for the children, it just added to the magic of the day.
Many of “The Little Presidents” had their own playoff games on Saturday morning before they would head to Nationals Park. When Andrew Ladd arrived at his game on early Saturday morning, his coach asked him how he was doing that morning as Andrew was set to be their starting pitcher for their playoff game.
“Well coach,” Andrew Ladd said. “Given that this is basically the best day of my life, I’m doing pretty good.”
Could life be better? Starting pitcher in the morning, and a Little President on the field in Nationals Park in the afternoon. That about summed up his day perfectly and the rest of the Little Presidents also.
When the boys and parents got to Nats Park, they put the boys and a few of the parents in a locker room for the first two innings. After that, they walked the tunnel of the underground concourse where they met up with the real Racing Presidents to do a quick run-through of the race. Spoiler Alert: yes, there is a little bit of a script and choreography with these races like a professional wrestling match — yes, a shocking revelation to most of you.
The Nationals entertainment group then had the boys come out of one of their tunnels to get ready for the race. The reaction at that point from the fans sitting nearby who could see the boys was priceless as mom, Catherine Ladd, described it! As a side note… The weather forecast for the day looked really iffy! There were supposed to be big thunderstorms in the whole area from noon to 5pm as you recall, and it never rained more than a few big drops that were just a tease even though there were ominous skies!
The kids had been praying that the weather would hold off and they were nervous as their big moment was coming up as the big dark clouds came rolling in and some huge raindrops started to come down but not enough to disrupt anything which you probably remember as that is how the MASN crew described it on the TV. Catherine Ladd just kept praying that the weather would at least hold for the 2 minutes so the boys would be able to be a part of the President’s race, and miraculously she said that their prayers were answered and the rain held back. The boys ran out onto the rightfield line in foul territory to cheers from the crowd.
The Little Presidents let George Washington through the line which you can see in the video above as they made a blockade so the other Racing President’s couldn’t pass while Little Screech cheered with Big Screech at the finish line! Their word for the experience was “epic”… They loved every minute of it even though the experience on the field was less than 2 minutes it really was a dream come true — and an experience that they will remember forever. For Catherine Ladd who created the Little Presidents, it was amazing for her to stand there and see these boys, and see the reaction from the crowd and those close by wanting pictures.
The staff working with the boys at the stadium were amazing and made the experience even that much better.