As a Red Sox fan, your first game at Fenway Park is always one you will remember.
The sea of red and white as you walk in the gates of the historic stadium, the whiff of hot dogs and popcorn filling the air and of course, belting out the words to the notable ‘Sweet Caroline’. To many, this memory is formed in childhood. For the Theolien family, their first ballgame looked a little different. Sauntering out to the mound as he waved to the crowd of Sox fans, Radley Theolien, a Special Olympics Massachusetts athlete, was recognized on Disability Pride Night during a pre-game ceremony alongside fellow athlete, Jeremy Smith (Norwood, MA) and local program coordinator Dalene Basden (Lynn, MA). What made the night all the more special for Radley and his family, was that, despite living 5 miles down the road in Dorchester, this was their first time ever setting foot in the renowned ballpark.
The Theolien family has ventured around the Fenway area, they just had never made it into the park for a game. Radley’s mother, Yardley, said that this entire night was “A dream come true” for her son.
“His passion is all sports,” Yardley said. “And for us to be out here for the Boston Red Sox on the field, it’s just amazing just to see him there.”
Radley lives and breathes sports, especially Boston sports. When he is not on the soccer field or basketball court himself for Special Olympics MA, the 22-year-old is watching all of his teams play and conversing about it on his podcast, RadSportsTalk.
Special Olympics was introduced to Radley and his family during his time at Needham High School. The standout soccer player went on to play at Mass Bay Community College and made the New England Revolution Unified Team in 2022, where he was later named to the MLS Unified All-Star team. As a part of the Unified All-Star squad, Radley was one of two players chosen to represent the New England Revolution at MLS All-Star Week in Minnesota in 2022.
Radley’s dad, Ralph, is overjoyed with the experiences his son has gained through Special Olympics Massachusetts.
“He has taken me to a few places that I never expected to be”, Ralph said. “It’s been really great. I’m very, very proud, above and beyond.”
Radley was accompanied onto the field at Fenway Park by his parents and his grandmother, Marie who is ‘his rock’. Family means a lot to Radley and being able to share this moment with them was the icing on the cake.
“It was a great experience to be able to go on the field to be recognized.” Radley said. “And to be there with family, was just amazing.”
Everyone has a first baseball game memory, and for Radley and the Theolien Family, this surely is one first game they will not forget.