The Spirit of Goldstock

In a million years I never thought that I would ever be able to capture what Goldstock means to me in a single frame or instance. It's too big and there are too many meanings behind Goldstock. I talked to so many new people this time around and for each person I talked to, their experience and why they were at camp varied as much as the shades of Goldens running around camp. But there was a common thread that ran through every conversation and that was that we were all there because of Rescue.

It seemed impossible that I would ever capture all those reasons and feelings in a single frame because for six years I have been trying and thousands of shots later no luck, but -- I do think I captured in one frame all the reasons why I love Goldstock and I thought I'd share.

This year they added a new event and it was baseball with the dogs, the rules being I think that a dog had to field the ball before you could pick it up and tag the batter or runner out. I knew this was going to be a photographic gold mine, kids, baseball and dogs, a perfect storm of laughter, mayhem and emotion.

As expected, the game did not disappoint, the kids and dogs had a great time and I even made a kid cry (long story, but regardless of what others may say it was sooo not my fault). At one point during the game I was sitting behind home plate because I thought it would be a great angle and it was but I was never prepared for what came next.

Tyler walked up to the plate and as always, when I tried to help him, he dismissed me by saying "I can do it" and he threw down his crutches, picked up the bat and asked "are you going to run for me?" for which I replied "sure I'll run for you sir!" So I set up behind home plate again figuring I can get the shot and then run, even though I don't run much these days, it was for Tyler I had to do it.

Tyler didn't waste any time, he turned, planted his feet the best he could, wound up and swung away. I threw the camera to my side as soon as the ball was in flight, turned to run and instantly ran into a woman that was also running for Tyler, I had no clue. I either tripped over her or pushed her but I kept running (I'm really sorry but it was for Tyler) so I kept running and for a few brief minutes as I was rounding the bases I was feeling no pain. It truly was a magical moment that I will always remember.

As I was looking through the multiple frames today of Tyler at bat I noticed this one frame and it was it, it was a picture that had been eluding me for 6 years. It's a photograph of my heartbeat at Goldstock, in less than a second Tyler is going to slam the ball out of the park and a heartbeat after that he'll turn me into a kid again. It's all right there in a single frame, all the reasons I love Goldstock captured in one single frame.

That's why I love Goldstock, there's magic in that camp when we are all there, it's floating among the wonderful aromas of the camp food we have come to love and treasure. Hey, at the very least it makes for great conversation starters!!! Next time you're at a loss for conversation just ask the person your speaking with what they think of the camp food, it works every time!

But seriously, that's why I will keep going to Goldstock and supporting Goldstock and rescue. Thank you Tyler and crew, you are all truly real life magicians and heroes in my book. Now lets hope we can get the whole camp out to play ball next year!!!

Stephen O'Byrne