A Dream Come True by Dillon Mavunga

A Dream Come True

 

This year, I was able to do an exchange trip with a school in Terrassa, Spain. I went to Spain for a week and a half and then the Spanish students came to America for a week and a half. I stayed with my host parents and their son, Eric, who is now my good friend. I was nervous at first to go on the exchange since I had never been out of the country before, but it turned out to be an amazing experience. Luckily I did not have to speak only Spanish at home because my host family understood and spoke English very well. My host Eric took me to see the streets of Terrassa filled with cafes and boutique shops. I got to see a lot of other exciting things while in Spain, including Montserrat, a beautiful mountain range, La Sagrada Familia, a famous basilica, and Camp Nou, the stadium of FC Barcelona. I play soccer, and my favorite soccer team in the world is FC Barcelona. While I was in Spain, I was able to see an FC Barcelona game and visit the FC Barcelona stadium, which had been my lifelong dream. It was unreal to be in the stadium where some of the greatest soccer games have been held, such as “El Clasico,” the rivalry between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. To put it into context, the Super Bowl has approximately 100 million viewers, but El Clasico has approximately 650 million viewers around the world, just for a league match.  

We were all required to write an essay about what we expected from the exchange trip. In Eric’s essay, he mentioned that his favorite basketball player was Derrick Rose. Once I finally got to Spain and met Eric, he talked about how much Derrick Rose meant to him. Since my DCD group and I had an unforgettable experience in Spain, I wanted Eric to have a memorable experience in Michigan. It would be a dream come true for Eric to watch the Detroit Pistons and Derrick Rose play a basketball game in person. My friend Kaelen, who goes to DCD and was with me on the exchange trip, heard that Eric idolized Derrick Rose and thought of a plan that might give him a chance to meet him when he came to Michigan. Kaelen suggested that Eric write a letter to Derrick Rose. Eric’s letter explained how much Derrick meant to him and how it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet him. Kaelen’s dad has a connection with the Pistons, so we had his dad send it to the Pistons on Eric’s behalf to see what happened. DCD was planning to take the Spanish students to a Pistons game anyway, so this was a perfect opportunity for the plan to work. Unfortunately Derrick was hurt for the game we were attending and was not meant to be playing. That meant that our plan for Eric to meet him was in jeopardy because we weren’t sure if he would even be at the stadium. A member of the Pistons staff got in touch with us and let us sit courtside during the pregame practice. After sitting there for a while, it looked like we would not get to meet him. Suddenly, a member of the Pistons security called us to come in front of the locker room. We waited there for a couple of minutes. Then, right before our eyes, Derrick Rose came out of the locker room! Not only did he come over to us, but he came out with a signed Derrick Rose jersey for Eric. When Kaelen pointed out that he was coming out, we were all stunned. Initially, Eric was speechless. When we got a chance to speak with Derrick, we found that he was a very humble guy and down-to-earth.

It was such an incredible day for Eric and for all of us, knowing that we had accomplished our crazy goal. It was a very emotional day for Eric and he was filled with joy. I have met famous people before, but I have never met my favorite sports player. For us to be able to have Eric meet his favorite player on his first day in Michigan delighted me. It just shows that even if you have a crazy dream or goal in life, anything can happen and it may all work out in the end. One thing could go wrong, but another could go right. We did not get to see Derrick play, but we got to meet him in person. Knowing what I know now, this was the second-to-last NBA game in Detroit. The next game that the Pistons played was their last, since an NBA player tested positive for COVID-19. As I am writing this, it has been eight weeks since the lockdown started, and I feel privileged to say that 2020 has been the best year of my life despite the hardships. I got to experience my favorite team play FC Barcelona and I got to see the second-to-last NBA game. I cannot wait to go out again and cheer for my favorite sports teams.

Eric with Derrick Rose
Kaelen, Eric, Derrick Rose, Dillon, and Xavi
Eric and Dillon at Camp Nou

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