October 12th - 14th 2018
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
Nikon D4 and D3s w/70-200mm 2.8 G2 Tamron, 20mm 1.4 and 35mm 1.4 Sigma Art
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to share an experience of a lifetime with a well deserving kid. Kurt who is an amazing 18 year old who lives with autism, those of you who followed his dream wish know that he is a huge Alabama Football team. His dream was to meet Coach Nick Saban and to experience an Alabama football game. His dream came true last weekend. I want to start by saying that this blog will not even come close to expressing the joy on Kurt's face the entire weekend, however I will do my best to share how amazing this weekend was.
We started early Friday morning with a flight to Birmingham AL from Charlotte. I arrived early waiting for the rest of the team to arrive which consisted of Brandon (Dream on 3)..Kevin (Wheelhouse Media) and of course Kurt and his cousin Joe. When Kurt and Joe arrived I could see an Alabama hoodie and a smile from ear to ear. From my first point meeting Kurt I knew this was going to be an amazing weekend. When we stopped at Starbucks for breakfast Brandon gifted a pair of bluetooth headphones to Kurt. His words were "These are AWESOME"... Which are words he used all weekend!!!!
This would be the first time that Kurt would be on a plane. He was so excited. When we took off he cheered with joy. As the flight continued I noticed that he was amazed with the view.
When we landed we were met by Jennifer from Mercedes Benz and she gave us the keys to an awesome rental van. We were riding in style the entire weekend.
We had about an hour drive to Birmingham where we would be going straight to The University of Alabama to the Nick @ Noon event. This event consisted of a town hall forum setup with Nick Saban and Eli Gold. It was Homecoming weekend so there were people everywhere. Kurt got a table right up front where he would be as close to coach as possible. At the end of the event Kurt got his chance to meet Coach and get a photo. Kurt threw his arm around him like they have known each other for years. SO COOL!!!!!!
After that cool moment we then took a walk over to the Bryant Museum. This consisted of memorabilia that traces the long history of Alabama Football. Kurt and Joe were having a blast seeing all the history of their favorite football team.
After the museum we were notified that local news wanted to come by and interview Kurt so they could share his story and also spread the word of this great organization Dream on 3. Kurt smiled during every interview that he gave. He also was sure to include a "Roll Tide".
AND THEN.... DAB ON EM!!!!!
It was time for us to head to the hotel.... but when we pulled up.... Definitely not a hotel.. IT WAS A RESORT. We pulled up to the Ross Bridge Resort. They donated our entire stay.
Pulling up to the resort was very exciting for Kurt... but the welcoming that he was about to receive would blow him away. The entire staff was waiting the cheer him on as he walked through the door. They had signs and all.
Kurt was also greeted by Sigao Studios and Bridging Apps with a brand new Ipad customized for his needs. There was also a recorded video message on there from Alabama Football Alum Rashad Johnson. To top it all off they had the Dream on 3 logo projected onto the floor at the entrance. They kept it on all weekend!!!
Then we all went upstairs to check out Kurt's room and he had a few surprises waiting on him.
To wrap up the night we went to dinner at EastWest Birmingham. The food was amazing. One thing I can tell you is that KURT CAN EAT!!!!
Now lets get to Saturday.... GAME DAY!!!!! As mentioned before it was Homecoming weekend and with that comes a parade. Kurt would be in the parade riding in the back of an old school 1949 truck decked out in custom Alabama fashion. When we arrived to campus we knew it was going to be a great day. All the vendors were setting up and the parade lines were starting to form. Once we parked we made our way towards our place in the parade to meet Mr. Gibb who invited Kurt to stand in the back of his truck the entire parade.
While we were waiting for the parade to start I initiated Kurt getting some photos will all the different sororities that were also waiting for the parade to start. Kurt was loving it!!!!!!
It was then time for the parade to start. The parade was about 3 miles long around campus. I walked along/beside/front/behind the truck for about 98% of the parade. Minus the 2% that I sat in the back. However I was able to get so many great photos of Kurt waving and yelling roll tide. There were thousands of people on both sides of the street cheering. This to me was the best moment of the entire weekend. Seeing Kurt's face and hearing him yell Roll Tide back at all the BAMA fans was beyond awesome!!
Those fans I was talking about!!!!
Had to get one final photo with Kurt and Mr. Gibb!!!
It was then time to head back to the stadium and get ready for the game. Kurt had one final interview to do with one of the student organizations.
We had about an hour or so before we had to head into the stadium. We relaxed for a bit then put on our pregame sideline passes and headed inside. Kurt was so hype going in. We walking onto the field and you could tell this was the moment he had been waiting for. His face lit up as he was watching his favorite football team warm up.
GAME TIME!!!! Kevin and I went to the media box which was on the other side of the stadium but we were able to go and meet Kurt around the 3rd quarter and capture him enjoying the game.
While we were walking towards Kurt's seat I could identify where he was because he had both pom poms in the air. I then found out that he kept them up the ENTIRE GAME!!!! A true BAMA fan!!!!
I honestly can't say enough about Dream on 3!!! These experiences I am beyond grateful to be a part of making a kid's dream come. Blessed that my passion for photography has allowed me these opportunities. When we asked Kurt what his best moment was he said " Hanging with you guys".... Yes that happened..... We all just sat in silence for a second because it meant so much to us all. To be a part of this organization is humbling on so many levels. I want to thank Dream on 3 and Beers and Burpees for allowing me to document Kurt's dream. Stay tuned for another big dream coming up in a couple weeks!!!!! #dreamscometrue
IG @beers_and_burpees @dream_on_3
BAW Photography IG: @baw3_photo