As a young child I quickly learned the power of motivation and setting goals with much of the credit going to my mother. My father was the breadwinner in the family and was an elementary teacher, consequently there wasn't much extra money laying around to do a lot of extracurricular activities. My mom knew that I was crazy about baseball and desperately wanted to make it to a MLB game. Unfortunately, our family lived in a small rural town in the Midwest and the closest team was nearly a 6 hour drive away. This was going to be a costly trip and it was going to be a challenge to rake together the funds to make it. After months of my consistent begging, my mother laid down the ultimatum, if my brother and I could put together enough money to pay for the tickets, my parents would pay for all the travel expenses. I was 10 and my brother was 5 so employment opportunities were few and far between. Before the idea of earning all of that money crushed my spirit, Mom presented her genius idea, "Cans for Kansas City". Living in a community that revolved around the local university meant that cans were bountifully found in the streets, alleys and yards especially on the weekends. Excitedly, my brother and I jumped on board but there was one problem, we didn't realize how many cans we would need to collect to make this dream come true. We started our collections in late July hoping to get enough by the end of the season to catch a game, but that quickly came and went so we set our eyes on the next spring. During the school year, I would faithfully walk the streets on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons, filling bag after bag with musty beer cans and faded soda containers my eyes focused on the prize. And finally after a windfall following St. Patrick's Day, we had collected enough to make our pilgrimage to Kansas City. Mom let me pick the game and I carefully selected the Saturday when my favorite superstar Ken Griffey Jr. would be in town. I can honestly say I can't think of a sweeter moment in my life as a sports fan as when we arrived at the stadium that fresh Spring day. The fact that I worked so hard made things so much better and the whole day seemed like a dream. Everything went perfect that day. The sun was at its finest that afternoon leaving me feeling warm and tingly. We were able to sit 10 rows behind the visitors dugout allowing me the chance to watch my hero's every move. Then to my utter joy, in the third inning he knocked one over the fences straight into the cascading water fountain behind center field! To cap it off, after the game my little brother and I had the chance to go down to the field and run the bases, imagining the rapidly emptying stands had been there to see us. It was a great experience that day in Kansas City and I am forever grateful to my mom for her creativity and willingness to help us take ownership of our dreams.