My Journey with the Luray Wranglers

Hey all! "Ace photographer" Rebecca Carter reporting for duty. Today, I got the privilege (by happy necessity) to ride the Luray Wranglers bus to their 7:30PM game at Fauquier High School versus the Fauquier Gators. What was it like? Well let me show you...

4:25PM. When I arrived at Bulldog Field, the chariot awaited me. The bus (referred to by an anonymous source as "the boss' bus") was incredibly nice and comfortable.

4:30PM. I join the players and coaches on the bus along with Debbie, the amazing bus driver. I had a really good time getting to know her in our pre-trip conversation. I'm really glad I got to meet her!

4:40PM. Head Coach Mike Bocock decides to take a quick nap. He and assistant coach Randy Smith have been pulling double duty lately - they both work as teachers on top of their responsibilities with the Wranglers. After he woke up he told me he had woken up earlier today at 6:00AM!

4:50PM. All is quiet and calm in the bus. Some players listened to iPods and other mp3 players and some watched the movie. All in all, a pretty quiet group of college guys. I'm glad I have photographic evidence or I'd've never believed it myself!

5:00PM. We're all enthralled by this evening's feature presentation: The Final Season. It was a heartwarming tale of a small town baseball team (sound familiar?) that had won 19 straight state titles (ehh... close enough) but the state board decided to merge their and another school, much to the dismay of the townfolk.

5:40:00PM. Mike Bocock rallies the Wrangler troops for what will be an amazing athletic performance!

5:40:17PM. Ha! I told you I'd snap a picture of you, eventually, Randy!

5:40:38PM. All the players pay close attention to the wisdom, advice and announcements of the coach. I'm proud to show proof, here, that none of them were even distracted by my taking this picture! Way to go, guys!

5:45PM. The boys disembark from our sweet ride. Check out that smile! That's what we like to see!

5:50PM. The coaches stay in the cool shade of the dugout and talk about what may come in the night's game. (Yet another picture of you, Randy!)

...Sorry, guys! Real life calls and I have to go deliver newspapers for a while but I'll make sure that I update this as soon as I have a spare moment! It was really a night to remember. This league is truly special thanks to the amazing people involved in every aspect of it!


And I'm back!

5:55PM. The guys warm up with some stretches. I was surprised to see that some of these guys are entirely more flexible than a certain female photographer...

6:00PM. The guys collect the balls for batting practice. Team work.

6:05PM. The guys are deep in discussion about technique and how to best utilize your body during your swing.

6:15PM. The dream team watches on as their players practice batting as well as fielding the balls. Mike Bocock said he is pretty happy with how they hit but that if they all put in some effort this summer they can all walk away better ball players.

6:20PM. Look at that swing! I agree with Mike - I like the way our boys hit. It's worked out pretty well, the Wranglers are 2-1, now.

6:30PM. Mike and Randy chuckle about something profound, I'm sure. It's the first true smile I've seen on their faces all day (aside from Randy's while the boys were video taping Mike's nap on the bus.)

6:35PM. The boys have to practice bunts, as well. It's a tough art to master but I saw a lot of good ones while I looked on.

6:40PM. I take a couple of shots of the fans that are already there and the game doesn't start for another 50 minutes! As you can tell, the Fauquier fans are dedicated. The nice lady on the right (I didn't catch her name) was there even as I put up the Around the Valley in 60 Days sign almost an hour ago and she helped me. So nice!

6:45PM. Some guys stop to pose for a picture. I told them to look serious for this one and I think the shot turned out pretty well. They look like some fierce baseball players.

7:00PM. The guys hang out in the dugout for a bit, relishing in the coolness of the shade, I'm sure. And look at that smile, again! So adorable...

7:05PM. Some of the other guys stand outside of the dugout and watch the Fauquier Gators practice. It's always good to size up your competition.

7:10PM. Bill Turner strikes a pose for me after we have a quick conversation. It's nice to see that this Wrangler owner makes time to come see his boys play, even on the road!

7:20PM. I barely escape the claws of this rabid Wrangler fan! (Joannie is ready for the game, too!)

7:25PM. I find my seat next to Ashley Turner, Morgan Buckley and Mrs. Diane Buckley (all ready with delicious concession stand food in hand), the Wranglers go-to girl (woman, I should say) and general manager.

*Please note that all times aren't necessarily correct and I reserve the right to be wrong on any temporal accounts.

I had a blast and I want to thank Mike Bocock again for giving me this amazing opportunity to spend an afternoon with the Luray Wranglers. I had a blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat!


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