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 a lifelong quest – one that plopped him down in hundreds of bleachers and box seats across North America.
More than 20 years ago, Rich combined his two great loves – sports and travel – into one “superhobby.” 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. In a decade, he had swept through all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums and 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 road, rail and air exploring new cities.
Rich takes you in the building to relive what it was like witnessing some of the most historic – and just plain crazy – sports moments he’s experienced: Mark Messier’s guarantee. The “Jeffrey Maier game” and the Yanks 1996 World Series title. The Devils hoisting the Stanley Cup. Aaron Boone’s 2003 ALCS-clinching home run against the Red Sox (though he almost wound up in jail for that one … oops!).
“One Lucky Fan” culminates in Rich’s attempt to “finish the game,” as he puts it, and chalk up the 41 teams he hadn’t yet seen live in a 25,000-mile, 53-day whirlwind tour of the U.S. and Canada.
“One Lucky Fan” is Rich’s personal travelogue from two decades on the road, but along the way it contemplates the qualities that unite all fans – even bitter rivals. After seeing this idea of the "everyfan" come to life in the home venues of each team in sports, Rich weaves it into the story he tells, letting readers reminisce about their favorite sports memories and, just maybe, inspiring a road trip of their own.