One Lucky Fan: From Bleachers to Box Seats, Chasing the Ultimate Sports Dream to Visit All 123 MLB, NBA, NFL & NHL Teams
Twenty-five years ago, Rich O’Malley combined his two great loves – sports and travel – into one “superhobby,” launching a lifelong dream of seeing a home game for every franchise in American professional sports.
“For Rich it was about much more than just seeing the sites. He got off on the puzzle of planning a trip: the time zones, the schedules, the routes to take, the length of each drive, which games we could make, how many places we could squeeze in. He immersed himself in his road atlas like a 14-year-old boy would immerse himself in a Playboy (when magazines and a world without Google Maps was still a thing) … All I can say is, I knew how things turned out in the end and yet a few times while reading One Lucky Fan, even I asked myself, “How will he pull this off?” You can’t help but get caught up in not only the journey, but also the puzzle.” —Jimmy Traina, “Foreword”
Did you ever watch a big game on TV and say to yourself, “I would give anything to be there right now”? For Rich O’Malley that desire turned into the ultimate quest – one that plopped him down in hundreds of bleachers and box seats across North America.
Attending games in new cities was the thing that made him happiest: being on the road and absorbing the atmosphere of new venues – places he had only ever seen on TV now unfolding in 3D before his eyes. Once Rich had swept through all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums he set his eyes on a bigger prize: seeing a home game for every team in the four major U.S. pro sports leagues – MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL – a total of 123 franchises spread out across 53 metropolitan areas in two countries.
One Lucky Fan is the story of Rich’s pursuit of that goal. It begins with his childhood roots as a fan and explores his “aha!” moment when sports and travel became forever intertwined, leading him to rack up thousands of miles by foot, road, rail and air.
Rich takes you back in time to relive some of the most historic – and just plain unbelievable – sports moments he’s experienced firsthand, like the Yankees winning the 1996 World Series, and Mark Messier delivering on a promise to New York Rangers fans in 1994.
One Lucky Fan culminates in Rich’s ultimate road trip to “finish the game,” and chalk up the 40 teams he hadn’t yet seen live in a 25,000-mile, two-month whirlwind tour of the U.S. and Canada.
One Lucky Fan is Rich’s personal travelogue from two decades on the road. Along the way he contemplates the qualities that unite all fans – even bitter rivals. After seeing this concept of the “every fan” come to life in the home venues of each team in sports, Rich weaves it into the story he tells, encouraging readers to reminisce about their favorite sports memories and hoping to maybe – just maybe – inspire an adventure of their own.