NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

June 28, 2014

A very big friendship

Port trio has created a lasting bond as part of 'Big Friends Little Friends' program

(Continued)

The three typically see each other once a week – doing anything from catching a quick bite to eat to taking trips to Boston to visit different museums. While having fun is a regular occurrence, so too is direct encouragement and motivation.

“The boys are growing up and we have become important to each other,” Kelleher said. “I love these guys and I can be very direct with them when we talk about schoolwork. Ryan and I are going out tomorrow to try to find him a job. They get exposed to things that they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to.”

“And the same goes for me. I love hearing what they’re up to in school,” he added. “Collin plays in Newburyport’s Pioneer League and I attend his games. But a lot of the time, we just hang out. We grab a bite to eat or go to the Jabberwocky Bookstore. They appreciate the time we have together, and I appreciate it too. It adds a whole other dimension to my life to which I am very grateful.”

Sometimes, even, they take in a Sox game. While having made the trip to Fenway a few times already, doing so on May 29 was far from a common occurrence when the three — alongside a mentoring pair from Boston – were selected to welcome the crowd to the game against the Atlanta Braves.

“I still remember the first time my Dad took me to Fenway to see Ted Williams decades back,” Kelleher said. “The boys and I had been to a few other games together, but we were contacted by Big Friends Little Friends and they said they were looking for people to throw out the first pitch, or yell ‘Play Ball!’ It was great. It was a beautiful night and the Red Sox won.”

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