One look at the map and it becomes pretty obvious that Florida is definitely not on the way for anyone heading from Belgium to Edmonton. Fortunately for 18 year-old Belgian exchange student and basketball fanatic William, his CHN homestay family Janet and Danovan Campbell had little regard for geography.
After welcoming William into their home and learning of his lifelong desire and passion to attend an NBA game, they made it their mission to make it happen. Thanks to a few family connections (relatives in Orlando) and some great airfare deals, what had once seemed like mission impossible for William became a reality and the pictures tell the rest of the story.
Campbell family…. you guys are homestay ALL-STARS! Not only do you provide a caring, vibrant home, you take the time to understand the hopes and dreams of your students and do everything in your power to make them happen. William won’t soon forget the experience and neither will any of us. Thank you!
In September 2018, shortly after William arrived in Canada, we talked about many things and soon realized that he and my husband Danovan are huge basketball fans. We had numerous conversations about basketball, during which William indicated an interest in seeing a live basketball game – but at the same time said he didn’t think he would ever see one because the basketball games never play in Belgium.
Realizing the ardent fan he is, I said to him “if you really want to see a game live, it is possible here because all the games take place in North America.” I told him that we had the option of going to Toronto or Orlando, but to make it more cost effective, Orlando would be best as my daughter lives there, and it would cut the cost for accommodation. William was very excited upon hearing this.
I asked William to checked for the date his favourite team was playing and found a reasonable ticket on Flair airlines. Once his parents and CHN gave permission for the trip, we booked the tickets immediately! William was able to see 2 games live – one of them with his favourite team The Houston Rockets – something he thought could never happen! Of course, we also managed to get in a trip to Disney World!
My Dream comes true in the city of the Magic – William’s Story
My name William, I am 18 and I am from Belgium. I am spending 10 months in Canada as an exchange student and I live with Janet and Danovan Campbell in Edmonton. It’s been 3 years since I am a big NBA fan and especially a fan of the Houston Rockets. One of my biggest dream was to see an NBA game in real life but for someone who lives in Belgium and only has a few opportunities to travel, it seems impossible.
But weeks after weeks, things changed. My host family understood my passion for the NBA and the Houston Rockets and my host mother, Janet Campbell told me one day: »You will have the opportunity to watch an NBA game in real life, I promise you ».
At the beginning it seemed crazy and unbelievable. I started to think that it could really happen when she told me that her daughter was living in Orlando , where there is an NBA team. She spoke about that with her daughter and she finally told me that we could go for a weekend or more in Orlando to see a Basketball game but also discover the city. Two months later I was on a plane with my host family to go to Orlando in Florida – the dream was approaching!
The four days that I spent in Florida were amazing, everything was perfect!
Yollande, the daughter of my host family and her husband Eddie were so welcoming and kind and I had a great time with them. We went to the Hepcat Center, one of the amusement parks in the city. Another amazing thing was the weather: coming from -20° in Edmonton to 30° in Orlando was a pleasure, the return was different…
And finally my dream came true! The dream of a basketball player, the dream of a fan came true!
I saw two NBA games: the first one on the Saturday evening, it was a beautiful victory of the Orlando Magic against the Boston Celtics and the second one on the Sunday evening, another victory of the Orlando Magic against the Houston Rockets.
The atmosphere in the arena was amazing, awesome, incredible, I don’t have enough adjectives to explain how I felt during the two games.
To finish, I want to say a huge thank you to Janet, Danovan and Yollande Campbell and also to Eddie for those four days under the sun in Florida.