My Amazing Night at the Nats Dream Gala

Last Saturday night, I did something I don’t normally do – I wore a rented tuxedo.  Lucky for me, it was for a great cause, the annual Nationals Dream Gala.

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Every year, the Washington Nationals and the Nationals Dream Foundation present the Nationals Dream Gala. The Dream Gala is one of the benchmark events that the Nationals have during the regular season, even when they aren’t chasing a World Series title. The Nats are the only team in the NL East with a charitable, black tie event like this.

First of all, let me tell you a little bit about the Nationals Dream Foundation. Established in 2005, the mission of the foundation is to “improve the lives of children and teens by supporting initiatives focused on academics, the arts, nutrition, and sports.” The Chairmen of the Foundation include members of the Lerner family, Debra Cohen, Mark Lerner, Marla Lerner Tanenbaum, and Ted Lerner. The Foundation supports many charitable initiatives, including the Nationals Legacy Fields, the Nationals Miracle Field in Germantown, Delta Dream Grants, the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center (Nats players visit every year), and the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Southeast. The Dream Gala is held to raise money for the Dream Foundation.

Dr. Cogen, Anthony Rendon, and me

I was invited to the Dream Gala by my amazing doctor at the Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center, Dr. Fran Cogen. Dr. Cogen is so helpful to my family, guiding us through the tough, unpredictable waters of Type 1 Diabetes. Dr. Cogen is not only the head of the Diabetes Care Complex, but she’s also a huge Nats fan. How lucky am I that my doctor and I share a love for the Nats!

 

 

 

 

The Dream Gala consists of two parts — the cocktail hour/silent auction, and the dinner/live auction. What I liked the most about the cocktail hour was that the players also walk around, mingling with the fans who are bidding on the silent auction items. The silent auction items were pretty cool, also. My favorite item had to have been a picture of Max Scherzer at his 20 strikeout game autographed by the man himself. A close second was a zamboni ride at a Caps game. I was able to meet many of the players, some that I hadn’t met yet. I took pictures and chatted with Adam Lind, Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark, and Dusty Baker. Dusty told me that he intends to win the World Series this year — and I gave him a high five for that! I also caught up with some players, like Ryan Zimmerman, that I had met before. Ryan told me that he would keep up his hot streak so that I would have things to write about. Sounds good to me! I also got Trea Turner to autograph a ball! After about an hour, it was time to go into another room where dinner was served.

After we all had exited the room with the silent auction, we took our seats at our tables around the room. Some tables had a player, coach, or broadcaster sitting at the table. Before the players came to their tables, though, they were introduced by the Nats’ PA announcer, Jerome. Oliver Perez did his best Project Runway model walk while he was walking down the stage, which was really funny. After we ate, the live auction began. There were some really cool experiences in the live auction, including a trip to Jamaica, a chance to travel with the Nats on their trip later this month to St. Louis on the TEAM PLANE (it went for $30,000), and my personal favorite, 2016 All-Star Game memorabilia and tickets to both the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game in 2018. It was painful for me to watch that one go by, even though it was sold for $10,000.

The unique and cool experience that I had at the Dream Gala is something that is going to be very hard to replicate in the future. The Gala was a success to the Dream Foundation, as well — they were able to raise north of $400,000 for the Dream Foundation. I think that the Nationals did a great job with this event, and I think that it is a great way to raise money for the Dream Foundation.

To support the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, click here.

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